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Increases Attributed Mostly to Technical Reasons

Increases Attributed Mostly to Technical Reasons

With little in the way of fundamental support to speak of, cash prices still managed gains between a nickel and a dime Tuesday at almost every trading point. "It's got to be technical," said a utility buyer. The tone was set by the screen opening around $1.80, a dime higher than Monday's opening, even though the April contract eventually ended the day with a small net loss, he said. Another source thought it was a case of cash starting to converge with the screen.

Price movement wasn't totally positive, however, as several sources reported Gulf Coast, Midcontinent and Rockies prices retreating in the late going. Midcontinent field quotes that began the day in the low to mid $1.70s dipped to just under $1.70 in his last purchases, a marketer said.

Despite not having much in either heating or air conditioning load, electric generators were strong buyers in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, one trader said. TUFCO's Comanche Peak #2 nuclear unit in North Texas was down, he said, and he thought there must be other power plant outages in the area but wasn't aware of any significant ones. A buyer said there was also a fair amount of electric generation load coming from the Northeast.

Some producers tried to get $1.70 for San Juan-Blanco gas in the morning, but that didn't fly, said a marketer reporting a Blanco range of $1.61-64.

Guessing about this afternoon's AGA storage withdrawal report was a popular activity. NGI sources mostly forecast figures on either side of 102 Bcf. One just said the report "should be healthy."

Looking ahead to the upcoming bidweek, a marketer said brokers were showing ranges of $1.50-52 at Opal, $1.59-63 at Malin and $1.57-61 at Stanfield; however, she suspected the Stanfield range was bogus, saying it was too close to the Malin numbers. A Rockies source reported basis at minus 25 for Northwest and minus 27 for CIG.

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