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Weather, Technicals Keep Bulls Corralled; October Called 4 Cents Lower

October natural gas is expected to open 4 cents lower Monday morning at $2.57 as traders factor in a combo of weak weather and weak technicals. Overnight oil markets vaulted higher.

There were few changes in overnight weather model runs. "Net demand changes were very minor overnight when combining both gas-weighted heating degree days and electric-weighted cooling degree days," said Commodity Weather Group in its Monday morning report. "The general theme is a loss from Friday's forecast, thanks to continued warm weather deeper into October. Only minority cluster subsets of the main ensembles show colder pattern change potentials, possibly due to typhoon influences in the North Pacific. Otherwise, the warm pattern carries a steady-state consistency story.

"Changes from yesterday's update were mainly in the warmer direction from the Midwest to the Northeast especially. The Deep South is mixed with some warmer Texas shifts in the four-10 day, but some cooler leanings in the Southeast. California should pull back from its big weekend heat (Burbank hit a record 104 F yesterday). While warmer early in the six-10 day, the West then downshifts cooler for the back half," said Matt Rogers, president of the firm.

Forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS) confirm the overall benign outlook. For the week ending Sept. 26, NWS forecasts a total of 11 cooling degree days for the East and Midwest combined. From New England, the Mid-Atlantic to Wisconsin the modest tally represents four less than normal.

Market technicians are looking at what they call a triangle continuation pattern formed by a declining trend from the market top at $3.105 and a rising trend line from $2.443 in April. "The triangle is a continuation pattern, not a reversal pattern. So triangles typically break out in the direction of the trend prior to the onset of the primary trend," said Walter Zimmermann, vice president of United ICAP, in a weekly letter to clients.

"In this case, that prior trend was down, [and] if the triangle is a continuation pattern then the implied downside target is the $1.885 area for a potential massive double bottom against the $1.902 low from April 2012."

Tom Saal, vice president at FC Stone Latin America LLC, in his work with Market Profile expects the market to test last week's value area at $2.770 to $2.658. Saal is not specific in his timing but said "eventually" the market should test $2.875 to $2.823.

In overnight Globex trading October crude oil jumped $1.34 to $46.02/bbl and October RBOB gasoline soared 5 cents to $1.4030/gal.

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