May natural gas is expected to open 7 cents lower Monday morning at $2.56 as traders factor in more temperate near-term weather outlooks. Overnight oil markets tumbled.

Forecasters see a warming trend settling in by the end of the month. "[Monday's] 11-15 day forecast is warmer than previous forecasts across the bulk of the nation, except the Northwest," said WSI Corp. in its Monday morning report. "This is due to the period shift and model trends. Period GWHDDs are down 5.6 to 31.5 for the CONUS. On the other hand, PWCDDs are up 1.3 to 11.3. Forecast confidence is average as models are in reasonably good agreement with the relaxing pattern.

"A blocking pattern associated with a negative AO [Arctic Oscillation] and EPO [Eastern Pacific Oscillation] support a risk to the cooler side, especially across the eastern two-thirds of the nation."

Analysts suggest the fact that Thursday's bearish Energy Information Administration storage report ultimately resulted in a 7-cent rally may be a sign of things to come. Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital, a Colorado-based trading and risk management firm, in a weekly report to clients said, "Natural gas settled slightly higher across the board. Early in the week, we broke to new lows. But after the new lows failed to generate any sell interest, the gas market rebounded into positive territory. The weekly gas storage number came in higher than expected but failed to push the markets lower.

"The fact it did not go down on bearish news could be indicating that the market is 'sold out.' Rallying on bearish news is often a precursor to a short-covering rally. On a trade basis, we continue to stand aside for producers. End-users should be looking at forward purchases for the summer months.

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil fell 38 cents to $55.36/bbl and May RBOB gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.9145/gal.