May natural gas is set to open a penny higher Tuesday morning at $2.01 as traders digest new weather information and see a nascent bullish technical case in play. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Analysts see changing weather forecasts adding a bullish tonality to the market. "This market continues to exhibit resiliency in the face of a massive storage level as a result of additional updates to the short-term temperature views that are showing extension of cold April patterns out to about the 19th of this month," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Tuesday morning note to clients.
"These unseasonably cold trends are forcing some significant revisions to April storage injections that will be relieving some pressures from the large storage factor. Although we have suggested that below-normal temps during April don't pack much punch as far as HDD accumulation is concerned, deviations from normal with extension out well into the third week of this month has apparently forced some additional speculative short-covering that was already in progress. Furthermore, some of the longer-term outlooks are leaning in favor of a hot summer that would boost electric generation demand in helping to eat away at the large supply overhang."
With Monday's failure up against $2.08, and settle below $2.01 the bullish technical case was looking a little weak. "Things looked promising for the bulls early on," said Brian LaRose, a technical analyst with United ICAP. "However, by the end of trading a shooting star top was visible on the daily candlestick chart -- not what one wants to see when a market is attempting an upside breakout. But bulls are not dead yet.
"To derail the case for a continued march higher, bears need to crack $1.965-1.957. Until then, the trend is up; recommend a defensive stance," he said in closing comments to clients.
Spot market traders in eastern markets are likely to have their hands full as Monday's storminess gives way to below-normal temperatures. The National Weather Service said, "Below-average temperatures expected today for much of the eastern U.S. [as] Cold high pressure will build into the eastern third of the nation this morning as low pressure pulls away from the Northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.
"A few snow showers may linger across Cape Cod this morning, but those will quickly come to an end. Otherwise, the eastern U.S. will remain dry and cold today, with afternoon high temperatures expected to be 10 to 20 degrees below average."
Tom Saal, vice president at FCStone Latin America LLC in Miami, in his work with Market Profile is looking for the market to inch higher before working lower. "Look for the market to test [Monday's] value area at $2.048 to $2.008 then test $1.958 to $1.928. Maybe" the market will test $1.913 to $1.859.
In overnight Globex trading May crude oil fell 6 cents to $35.64/bbl and May RBOB gasoline rose a penny to $1.3850/gal.