Natural gas futures probed higher early Monday, with bulls seizing upon favorable near-term weather, steady export demand and market expectations for a seasonally robust inventory withdrawal. But intensifying stress in the global financial system ultimately curbed the momentum and left futures in the red as markets closed.


The April Nymex gas futures contract settled at $2.223/MMBtu, down 11.5 cents day/day. May also fell 11.5 cents to close at $2.331.

NGI’s Spot Gas National Avg. slipped 2.0 cents to $2.530 ahead of a break from cold weather.

Monday futures trading extended losses from Friday. The prompt month lost 4% last week.

NatGasWeather said American and European weather models heading into Monday trading agreed on the timing of swings in national demand the next...