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Analysts Still See Downside; May Called A Penny Lower

May natural gas is expected to open a penny lower Friday morning at $2.67 as observers question Thursday's gains in light of current fundamentals. Overnight oil markets eased.

Analysts are circumspect about Thursday's above-expectation storage build report and the subsequent price advance. "The reported injection...is in our opinion just one more indication of the structural looseness of the spring ledger, but the market seems to have found some bullish sentiment to grasp on to," said Breanne Dougherty, analyst with Societe Generale in New York in a Thursday report.

"We do not see any specific data or news to attribute the 15-cent gain in price of the last two days, leaving us to speculate that it just might be a general surge of interest in the wider market. Our spring price outlook continues to feature downside price pressure. The injection pace acceleration in the immediate horizon should prompt the market to start more aggressively testing the elasticity of the generation stack.

"We expect the crux of capital cuts have been made at this point; focus now shifts entirely to the volume response; the market has yet to see any definitive data trend there," she said.

Buyers for weekend power generation across the MISO footprint pondering whether to commit to three-day deals will likely be factoring in stout renewables generation by early next week. WSI Corp. in its Friday morning report said, "Weak high pressure may support partly cloudy and mild conditions today into tonight [Friday]. A complex storm system may spread rain across the power pool as the weekend progresses. There is a chance of thunderstorms across Lower Mississippi Valley, which may be strong, [but] the bulk of the showers should depart by Monday, and it will become breezy and cooler in wake of this storm. However, there may remain a chance of a little light rain and even snow across parts of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes early next week. Rainfall amounts may range 0.25-1 inch-plus, while a few inches of snow may accumulate across northern Minnesota.

"Light wind generation is expected today. The next storm system may cause wind generation to increase during the weekend and become strong early next week. A brisk northwest wind may support output as high as 8-10 GW during Monday and Tuesday.

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil fell 35 cents to $56.36/bbl and May RBOB gasoline lost a penny to $1.9285gal.

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