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Cooler Temps In Play; May NatGas Called A Nickel Higher

May natural gas is expected to open 5 cents higher Tuesday morning as traders anticipate a supportive storage report Thursday and weather forecasts are moderately supportive. Overnight oil markets rose.

Analysts are looking for the spot month to come under pressure. "[I]t appears that the market was looking for some major bearish updates to the short term temperature forecasts during the past weekend and such a development failed to materialize," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in closing comments. "Although the weather factor still appears tilted in a bearish direction, the market appears to be attracting some buying off of some production slippage and a smaller than normal EIA supply injection per Thursday's EIA release.

"However, we still see a heavy physical trade in which sizable Henry Hub spot discounts against nearby futures will be acting as a drag on the May contract in relation to the forward months," he added. "The front switch has been under pressure during the past week and could easily establish a new wide contango during the coming week ahead of expiration. While we are maintaining a neutral trading posture, we still see high probability of a decline in nearby futures to the $1.83 area where we will expect long term support to be validated."

MDA Weather Services in its morning six- to 10-day outlook said "Changes today were in the cooler direction in the West and Midwest, but generally small across the East. Confidence, however, remains lower than normal for this lead time as models continue to show decent run to run volatilities as it relates to the southward extent of cooler than normal air into the Midwest and East.

"This includes within the individual members from the model ensembles. With this uncertainty, the forecast favors slightly below normal temperatures in the Northeast, while aboves span the southern tier. A trough is expected to dive into the West, leaving that region cool."

MDA sees mostly seasonal temperatures for the remainder of the week. Chicago is expected to see highs in the upper 60s before a Friday drop to 54. The normal high in Chicago this time of year is 61. New York City's Tuesday high of 70 is anticipated to dip to 65 Tuesday before making it to 74 Friday, 9 degrees above normal.

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil added 59 cents to $40.37/bbl and May RBOB gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.4576/gallon.

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