NY cotton end sharply off as downgrade fears rule

NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Cotton futures closed sharply lower Monday on investor sales as the selling spree sparked by the U.S. credit downgrade pulled fiber contracts down and will likely depress values this week, analysts said. World stocks sank to the lowest level in nearly a year by Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S., with gold soaring to record ground above $1,700 an ounce. The key December cotton futures on ICE Futures U.S. dropped 3.86 cents or by 3.8 percent to finish at 97.72 cents per lb, dealing from 97.58 cents to $1.015. Total volume traded stood over 14,000 lots, less than half a percent above the 30-day norm, Thomson Reuters preliminary data showed. "I think the gravity of all this is pounding the weaker markets and this includes cotton," said Jobe Moss, an analyst for merchants and brokers MCM Inc.