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Upside Risk Seen to Be Greater; June Called A Penny Higher

June natural gas is set to open a penny higher Friday morning at $2.05 as traders balance uninspiring weather patterns with a favorable technical landscape. Overnight oil market fell.

Top analysts see the market marking time but are leaning to a position where upside risk exceeds that to the downside. "While a cursory glance at [Thursday's] natural gas market suggests that a smaller than expected storage injection contributed to a modest price advance, we viewed the strengthening as largely technically related," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in closing comments Thursday.

"An early counter-intuitive decline following release of the 73 Bcf injection puled value briefly to within two ticks of our longstanding downside target of $1.95. Although we didn't see any shifts in the short term temperature views today, we feel that today's lows may be as close as we get to our bearish objective. From here, we will expect some price consolidation between today's lows and the 2.09 level pending updates to the weather views during the coming weekend.

"So although we are not yet ready to discard a bearish stance, the market has moved into a position where upside price risk would appear to exceed that to the downside. With this in mind, we are hesitant to approach the market from either side at current levels and we are now looking for a place to establish long summer/short winter bull spreads."

Gas buyers tasked with procuring supplies for weekend power generation across the PJM footprint will not have a lot of wind energy to work with. WSI Corp. in its Friday morning report said, "High pressure will continue to nose into the power pool today. This will result in partly sunny skies and pleasant temperatures with highs in the mid 60s and 70s. High pressure will depart and allow a storm system to traverse the power pool from west to east tonight into Saturday with rounds of rain.

"Temperature will dip back into the mid 50s, 60s to low 70s by Saturday and Sunday. A trailing upper-level low will lead to variable cloud cover and a chance of a few showers across eastern PJM through Monday, but fair and mild conditions are expected to emerge across the West. Fair and warm conditions will overspread the power pool during Tuesday with highs in the 70s to low 80s.

"Wind generation is expected to creep up during the next couple of days, with output between 1-2.5 GW. Wind generation will subside during Sunday into Monday morning, but a mild southerly wind will cause wind gen to trend back up late Monday through Tuesday."

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil fell 19 cents to $48.05/bbl and June RBOB gasoline shed 2 cents to $1.6182/gal.

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