With lawmakers acting to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus, natural gas futures found support in early trading Wednesday. The April Nymex contract was up 1.6 cents to $1.669/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
Futures have continued to show a correlation with equities amid broader concerns over the impact of the coronavirus, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“Natural gas prices, at least at the front of the curve, are slightly higher so far this morning, though off from the highs from overnight, when the April contract jumped over the $1.70 level briefly,” Bespoke said. “That move coincided with a brief spike to highs in equities futures as well, keeping alive the correlation between the two markets.”
Reports that Congress and the White House had reached a deal on a $2 trillion aid package to combat the negative effects of the coronavirus offered a measure of hope for the broader economy early Wednesday. That followed a major rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday.
“If we have to choose between the Dow losing 2,000 or gaining 2,000, we would (shockingly) opt for the latter option, though some peace and quiet might be a nice change of pace as well,” Raymond James & Associates Inc. analysts said in a note to clients early Wednesday.
Crude oil futures have found some support this week from reports that “Chinese petroleum inventories are looking more bullish as economic activity revives” and from the fact that “thus far at least, Saudi exports have not increased despite the price war.”
Actions taken by the Federal Reserve and by lawmakers are likely to be reflected in the price of the S&P 500 at the open, according to analysts at Jefferies. But other indicators will merit close watching, they said.
Among them, “Covid-19 new cases have yet to plateau,” the Jefferies team noted. Also, “the labor data will be heavily scrutinized.”
Looking at the latest weather guidance, Bespoke added a few gas-weighted degree days to its outlook based on the overnight changes.
“We have seen some changes in the pattern projections over the next couple of weeks that suggest we step closer to normal overall, mostly thanks to some blocking showing up on the Atlantic side of North America, forcing occasional cooler troughs into the Midwest and East,” Bespoke said. There is a “decently colder picture year/year” setting up after the first few days of April. “Last year went very warm, and this year may wind up more variable, closer to normal overall, with potential for more if the blocking signal is legit and lasting.”
May crude oil futures were off 48 cents to $23.53/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET, while April RBOB gasoline was trading about 2.1 cents higher at 46.5 cents/gal.