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Trader Suggests Covering Shorts; October Called 2 Cents Higher

October natural gas is set to open 2 cents higher Tuesday morning at $2.59 as traders look to exit existing short holdings and at the same time study the possibility of a triple-digit storage build report to come on Thursday. Overnight oil markets fell.

Traders suggest that the time may be ripe to take profits on short positions. "Although this market fell a few cents more than we had expected, we still look for some price gravitation at around the $2.58 area where we have suggested acceptance of profits out of any short positions," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Tuesday morning report to clients.

"Our next trading stance will be developing toward the long side of this market, but we will await more support evidence before advising a scale-down purchasing program, probably within the $2.50-2.58 zone. Short-term fundamentals appear decidedly bearish at the present time, and some fresh lows should not be ruled out. The consensus of short-term temperature forecasts continues to favor unusually mild trends that are now stretching through the first week of October in most cases. This should accommodate some triple-digit storage injections, possibly beginning with this Thursday's EIA release."

Unusually mild indeed. Natgasweather.com in a noon update Monday said, "High pressure over the central and southern U.S. will expand north and east in the wake of the fizzling Northeast weather system, eventually warming temperatures several degrees above normal over the Midwest and Northeast by Wednesday.

"This will result in very comfortable conditions across much of the northern tier for this time of year, limiting demand for natgas-based heating or cooling. Over the West, high pressure has regained ground, with fairly warm temperatures over all but the northwest corner, although Pacific weather systems will push a little deeper into the interior by the middle of the week."

Forecaster Wunderground.com is looking for the high in New York Tuesday of 73 to reach the low 80s by mid week and ease to 74 by Friday, one degree above normal. Dallas' high Tuesday of 94 is expected to hold through the week before dropping to 91 Friday, six degrees above normal.

In overnight Globex trading the expiring October crude oil contract fell $1.23 to $45.43/bbl and October RBOB gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.3856/gal.

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