Metal futures plunge on Europe worries

Metal futures plunge on Europe worries

Metals prices fell sharply Thursday on fears that Europe’s spreading financial crisis will slow the fragile U.S economic recovery.

On Thursday, traders moved money into cash and other safe investments.  Jon Nadler stated the bleak mood in note to clients:

“Sell everything. Run to cash. Hide. Take cover,” he wrote.

Even grain and soybean prices fell steeply as hedge funds and other investors sold. A tepid economy would cut demand for food and crop-based fuels like ethanol.

Corn for December delivery fell 28.25 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $6.145 per bushel. December soybeans lost 19.5 cents, or nearly 2 percent, to $11.6825 a bushel. December wheat fell 24.25 cents, or nearly 4 percent, to finish at $5.925 per bushel.

In energy trading, oil prices fell below the $100 per barrel mark after hitting it Wednesday for the first time since July.

Benchmark crude oil plunged $3.77, or nearly 4 percent, to end at $98.82 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil lost 5.14 cents to finish at $3.0832 per gallon. Gasoline futures fell 12.02 cents, or nearly 5 percent, to close at $2.5071 per gallon and natural gas rose 6.3 cents to close at $3.546 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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