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Weather Forecasts Drift Warmer; September Called Up 6 Cents

September natural gas opened 6 cents higher Monday morning at $2.78 as weather forecasts call for a somewhat warmer Midwest and the continuation of oppressive heat and humidity in Texas and the South. Overnight oil markets tumbled.

Weather models crept warmer over the weekend. "While the forecast [Monday] gained a little bit of demand on weaker cooling in the Midwest and some heat across the South at times, no widespread, extreme heat is expected through the next two weeks," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group in a morning report.

"While modest heat lingers on the East Coast to start this week, cooling is already advancing into the Midwest and arrives in the East by midweek. This ushers in a period of seasonably cool temperatures in these regions that lasts into the 11-15 day. Meanwhile, Texas and the South is one region that continues to see some heat. While not extreme by Texas standards, highs in Dallas look to be around 100F the next two weeks, and Houston gets close as well. It is worth noting that the European ensemble has been offering some hotter risks for Texas at times through the 6-15. The West, meanwhile, is looking variable with a seasonable 6-10 day and a hotter-leaning 11-15.

Risk managers see little to get excited about in today's market. Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital, a Colorado-based trading and risk management firm notes that $3 has been a tough nut to crack. "But as we've seen over the past few months, hedge selling as we approach the $3.00 level pushed the market lower [last week]. The weekly gas storage number came in with a slightly lower injection than anticipated, but the news was not enough to support the market. Moderate temperatures, more than adequate supplies and general weakness in the commodity markets continue to keep the gas market under pressure."

"On a trade basis, it's difficult to make a case for a significant move, either up or down, in the gas market at this time. We will continue to stand aside and await future developments." DeVooght advises trading accounts, end users and producers to entertain no positions currently.

Technical analysts, on the other hand, are sensitive to looming danger for the bulls (producers). "No change. [We] Peg $2.679 as our line in the sand for the bulls. Hold this level and the bulls have a shot at completing an ABCDE triangle off the $3.105 high," said Brian LaRose, market technician at United ICAP. " But that means it is bottom or else to start the week. Fail to turn higher in front of this level and a drop to $2.612, 2.402 even to new lows becomes possible from here. We reiterate our call for a protective sell stop beneath $2.679."

In overnight Globex trading September crude oil fell 99 cents to $46.13/bbl and September RBOB gasoline dropped 4 cents to $1.7321/gallon.

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