July natural gas is set to open a penny higher Wednesday morning at $2.48 as traders see the market supported by warm weather systems expected to dominate much of the country next week. Overnight oil markets rose.

Market bulls can take solace in longer-term weather forecasts. "Once hot high pressure sets up over the central and southern U.S. the next several days, we expect it to hold over large stretches of the country in some fashion well into the second half of June," said Natgasweather.com in a morning report.

"This will result in above-normal temperatures by several degrees over many regions. The exceptions will be the Northwest and Northeast corners due to weather systems. With highs of upper 80s to lower 100s expected to expand in coverage, natgas demand for cooling will become moderate to strong for this time of the year, especially across Texas and the central and southern U.S."

Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective saw Tuesday's performance as the market in a consolidation mode "as the temperature outlook moderated, subtracting some power sector demand from the fundamental equation for next week."

Near term, the National Weather Service (NWS) sees just modest increases in cooling requirements. For the week ended June 11 NWS forecasts New England will see 19 cooling degree days (CDD), or 11 more than normal. New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are expected to experience 21 CDD, or two above its seasonal norm, and the greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin is forecast to take on 31 CDD, or three above its normal tally.

Market technicians versed in Elliott Wave and retracement analysis favor a continuation of the slow but steady grind higher. "[We] still see $2.493-2.568 as the gatekeeper," said Brian LaRose of United ICAP in closing comments. "This zone marks (A)=(C) up from the $1.611 low in flat price and (A)=(C) up from the $1.939 low in the July contract. If this area of contention can halt the ascent, we will need to entertain the case for a completed ABC advance off these lows. If it cannot, then $2.763-2.854-2.870 becomes our next objective. At this time we have little reason to favor peaking action."

In overnight Globex trading July crude oil added 68 cents to $51.04/bbl and July RBOB gasoline gained 2 cents to $1.6047/gal.