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Short-Term Technicals, Fundamentals Point Higher; December Called Up 7 Cents

December natural gas is expected to open 7 cents higher Monday morning at $2.91 as traders factor in a near-term convergence of bullish fundamental and technical factors. Overnight oil markets rose.

"The first significant lake-effect snow event of the season will continue to bury parts of the northeastern United States into early Tuesday," said AccuWeather.com meteorologists in a Monday morning report. "The lake-effect snow will be set up by a blast of wintry air that arrived in the Northeast this past weekend," and snow will also continue to stream into western New England.

"A cold northwesterly flow across the still-warm Great Lakes will induce snow showers downwind of the lakes," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.

"The heaviest and most persistent snow will fall in parts of west-central and northern New York state. In these areas, an additional foot of snow can accumulate, with locally higher amounts. Over 14 inches of snow has already fallen in Binghamton, NY, as of early Monday morning.

"The setup into Monday night favors very narrow and intense lake-effect snow bands that can tap into moisture from the Great Lakes," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. "The result will be a substantial amount of snow over a very localized area.” A distance of a few miles can mean the difference between a couple inches of snow and well over a foot.

Friday's gains have technical analysts leading to the bullish side. Natural gas may be on the cusp of still-higher prices. For the "bearish case, a rising wedge up from the $2.546 low is about to come to an end. Bullish case, natgas is going to push higher into expiry," said Brian LaRose, an analyst with United ICAP. "The upper limits of the rising wedge pattern cuts around $2.900 to start the week; would interpret a push through the $2.932-2.956 area as a sign the rally is going to continue near term...[T]he technicals support the bullish case."

In overnight Globex trading the expiring December crude oil contract rose 95 cents to $46.64/bbl and December RBOB gasoline added 3 cents to $1.3673/gal.

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