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Market Moderates Following Thursday's Surge; June Called 3 Cents Lower

June natural gas is expected to open 3 cents lower Friday morning at $2.72 as traders assess what could be considered an overreaction Thursday to government storage figures. Overnight oil markets fell.

Top traders suggest waiting for a market correction to add to any long positions. "While this market saw another strong advance [Thursday] that was larger than we had expected, the magnitude of the 20-cent price pop over the past two sessions reinforces our assumption that the funds are almost fully allocated to the short side and are looking for even minor reasons to accept partial profits," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in closing comments Thursday. "The price action also reinforces our opinion that a $3 price handle will be established come June, probably within the late summer contracts.

"While an argument can be made that the response to the reported 81 Bcf storage injection was an overreaction, given proximity to our expected 85 Bcf build, we feel that this market is set up for a strong finish to this week's trade. We also believe that the natural gas scooped up some bullish spillover form the oil price strength. However, another increase in the gas rig count [to be reported Friday], regardless of magnitude, could trigger a significant amount of selling that could eventually open the door to another round of fresh lows across the month of May. Any investment-type positions established within the June contract below the $2.50 mark seen earlier this week would represent a hold. But any additions to longs should await another price pullback to below the $2.50 level."

Gas buyers over the weekend across the PJM power grid may need to be on their toes as the contribution from renewable energy sources is expected to be low. WSI Corp. in its Friday morning forecast said, "An upper level system and an area of low pressure off the East Coast will continue to bring mostly cloudy skies and showers across the Mid Atlantic today, but mostly sunny skies are expected across western PJM.

"Temperatures will generally range in the 60s. High pressure will settle into the power pool during the weekend. This may lead to partial sunshine and a warming trend, though, and isolated [an] shower or storm cannot be ruled out. Highs may warm into the 70s to near 80. A cold front may begin to slide into western PJM during Monday with a chance of scattered showers and/or storms. However, a southwest wind ahead of the front may push temperatures into the mid 70s to mid 80s. The cold front may become draped across the northern tier of the power pool by Tuesday and will remain a focal point for showers, perhaps a thunderstorm. While this may cool the northern tier, most areas will remain mild with highs in the upper 70s to mid 80s.

"Light and variable wind generation is expected during the next couple of days. A mild south-southwest breeze ahead of a cold front should cause wind gen to increase during Saturday night into Monday. Output may occasionally climb back into the 2-3 GW range."

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil fell 24 cents to $59.39/bbl and June RBOB gasoline dropped 2 cents to $2.0299/gal.

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