Healthy Pessimism

After declining steadily for a week, livestock prices hit their lowest point in more than four months. The cave-in loosened the prop under retail prices. Most Eastern food chains promptly slashed as much as 19% off some pork prices, 35% off beef. Stores in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and points west followed suit, in some cases with even bigger slashes. Dun & Bradstreet's wholesale food price index dropped to its lowest point in 14 months.

The drop was partly due to seasonal shipments of cattle to market, though they were running lower than at the same time last year. When prices...

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