After seesawing throughout most of the morning, futures pricestumbled again Wednesday as traders surveyed the threat of freshbearish fundamental news. The front-month January contract finisheddown 7.2 cents to $1.886 at the close, barely off session lows of$1.88. Estimated volume was a healthy 67,274.

Some sources said the downturn yesterday afternoon was inresponse to balmy temperatures across the country. Others sawselling ahead of the Wednesday evening American Gas Associationstorage report, which many felt would be bearish.

But bearish didn’t even begin to explain the storage figure whenit was released last night. The report, released too late to havean influence on the day session, featured a net injection of gasinto underground storage facilities. That estimate came in starkcontrast to most market predictions of a modest withdrawal.

Ed Kennedy of Miami-based Pioneer Futures felt Wednesday’s slidepaired with the storage report left the futures market in avulnerable position just above support at $1.86. “[Wednesday’s]move puts January dangling on the edge of a huge precipice. I amonly surprised prices have yet to fall off in Access trading. Weshould see more ferocious price action tomorrow. As of 5:45 p.m.,the January contract was down an additional 6.6 cents to $1.82.

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