COMMODITIES: The Wild Present of Futures

INVESTORS who thrive on high risk and fast action have found a hot new favorite that provides more thrills than Natomas Co., Levitz Furniture and other former Wall Street high-flyers ever did in their heyday. Its price has risen so sharply that someone who got into the market seven months ago and played it wisely could have walked away early this month with a bundle 100 times the size of his original investment.

The name of the new speculation game is soybeans. More precisely, it is soybean futures. One representative contract shot up from $3.20 per bushel last summer to...

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