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Traders Eye Buying Opportunity; November Called Flat

November natural gas is set to open unchanged at $3.02 Friday morning as weather forecasts can only muster nominal changes in the near-term outlook. Overnight oil markets eased.

Forecasts show a slight cooling in the West, but otherwise continued above normal temps in the Midwest and East. "The forecast features cooler changes in this period from the Interior West/Rockies to the Midwest, with this being a result of model trends in deepening a trough over the region late in the period," said MDA Weather Services in its morning six- to 10-day report to clients.

"Confidence, however, comes down from yesterday's levels as model spread has increased, particularly in the Midwest and not only between models but also within each model's ensemble members. The forecast now leans on the warm side of the Euro model, but like that model features broad above and much above normal coverage across the Eastern Two-Thirds. Belows are limited to parts of the Interior West."

Should November futures drop another 10 cents, traders see a buying opportunity.

"This market's inability to advance off of a seemingly bullish Energy Information Administration storage report attests further to a heavy environment suggestive of some fresh multi week lows in November futures by early next week," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a morning report to clients. "Although the one to two week temperature trends are looking warmer, we're not expecting enough cooling degree day accumulation to spark much of a price advance. Additionally, elevated production remains as a background bearish consideration.

"This is why we see downside potential in November futures to as low as the $2.90 area. However, we are suggesting purchases within the $2.90-2.95 zone given the fact that yesterday's small storage injection has left the surplus against five year averages at only about 40 Bcf. Such a modest supply overhang will keep the market highly sensitized to any unplanned supply disruptions or even brief demand spikes. So although yesterday's selling wasn't substantial, we don't see much downside risk of more than 10-15 cents from current levels while we also see high probability of an advance next month into the $3.20-3.25 zone.

In overnight Globex trading November crude oil was flat at $51.56/bbl and November RBOB gasoline fell fractionally to $1.6108/gal.

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