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Traders Eyeing Sell Side of Market; June Called A Penny Higher

June natural gas is expected to open a penny higher Friday morning at $3.25 as traders await higher prices to initiate short positions. Overnight oil markets rose.

Overnight weather models showed a cool East and warming West. "The current 6-10 day period forecast is cooler than yesterday's forecast across portions of the southern U.S. and East," said WSI Corp. in its Friday morning report to clients. "The Rockies and north-central U.S. are a little warmer. CONUS GWHDDs are up 2.2 to 34.9. PWCDDs are 8.8.

"The details of a storm system over the East late in the period can cause the forecast to deviate. The East and West Coast have cooler risks, but the Rockies and central U.S. have some warmer potential by the end of the period."

WSI forecasts that Monday's high in Boston will reach 55, 7 degrees below normal, and Chicago is expected to see a max of 61, 5 degrees below normal.

Traders are favoring the short side of the market but for now are on the sidelines. "The ability of the market to absorb a seemingly bearish storage figure in routine fashion suggests some further price consolidation, mainly within this week's trading range that could well persist through the first half of this month," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Friday morning report to clients. "But while we feel that a 300 Bcf storage surplus is more appropriate to nearby futures in the $3.05 area rather than $3.25 region, we will await a price advance prior to suggesting new short positions.

"The trade is likely to be a range-bound affair across most of next month until the kickoff to the cooling season when the weather factor will return as primary driver of nearby futures prices. We are still viewing the mid-week expiration of the May contract as a bearish portent given its increased discount of almost 13 cents relative to June values. The expanded June price premiums combined with the supply overhang could prove sufficient to entice commercial concerns further into the short side, especially as a hedge against future production amidst the unrelenting upswing in the oil and gas rig counts that should be furthered today."

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil rose 58 cents to $49.55/bbl and June RBOB gasoline tacked on 3 cents to $1.5838/gal.

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