The cash market shrugged off what many considered a bearishstorage withdrawal report and maintained what has become February’sstatus quo Thursday: flat pricing with mostly tight ranges. Sourceswere dismayed to admit their general expectation Wednesdayafternoon of falling prices Thursday was off the mark. “Nothingseems to be moving this market in any direction,” a marketer in theWest said.

Prices defied predictions to the extent that points with smallincreases outnumbered those that were slightly lower. One tradersuggested there might have been “just enough” fundamentalcold-weather demand in the Midwest and Northeast to cancel out thesoftening psychology implicit in AGA’s report of 59 Bcf inwithdrawals last week-including a net injection in the producingarea. But he and others agreed that without much more severeweather than the major market areas are currently experiencing,cash prices are bound to succumb eventually to mounting negativepressures.

“We’re getting kind of indignant about this continuingflatness,” a Gulf Coast trader said. He said his company just wantsprices to change in “some” direction soon. The trader didn’t thinkanyone has seen cash prices remain this stable for so long in thehistory of the modern spot market.

A Midcontinent source expects March business to pick upconsiderably today as people return to their offices from Houston’strade fair. A lot of them may be surprised to realize bidweek isimminent with the March Henry Hub futures contract settling nextWednesday, she said. It probably crept up on them due to the timingof the trade fair and the truncated length of February, she added.

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