Firing off of Friday’s 22.9-cent jump, bulls attempted to capitalize on the momentum Monday by pushing June natural gas futures to a high of $7.930. The contract ended up backing off slightly to close at $7.863, up 3.2 cents from Friday’s close.
Even though the last two regular trading sessions teamed to add 26.1 cents to June futures, it appears that more exploration of higher price levels could be in the near-term picture.
“Friday’s CFTC Commitments of Traders report shows record fund net short positions in the combined futures and options data, representing ongoing risk of a significant short-covering spike,” said Tim Evans, an analyst with Citigroup in New York. According to the CFTC, noncommercial accounts (i.e. speculative traders) held 28,840 net short positions as of April 24.
“There is still a window for natural gas to test the downside, but we see that window as closing,” Evans added. “If prices can hold their recent range through the current weather pattern, then we think a forward focus on a hot, stormy summer will eventually drive the market higher.”
Jay Levine, a broker with enerjay LLC, said the all-important “hype” component is now entering the energy trading arena ahead of the summer’s unknowns. “Indeed, the energy hype has already begun — with the media jumping on the bandwagon with greater frequency — with talk of this summer bringing record high energy prices and we’re still several months away.
“It’s this combination of fundamental, technical and psychological analysis, which translates — for better or worse — into today’s current market and, like it or not, you and I are stuck with it,” Levine added. “A reminder too, and this gets addressed mostly to those strictest of fundamentalists…that at any given time the market will completely and utterly ignore supply/demand and trade based on fears and perceptions and little else. How you put a quantitative value to that is up to you.”
Temperatures could support bulls in the short term. The Frontier Weather six- to -10-day outlook covering May 5-9 calls for above normal temperatures from Oklahoma and Arkansas through the Midwest, inland portions of the Northeast and Eastern Canada. Normal readings are expected elsewhere. The 11- to 15-day forecast covering May 10-14 has the West and South displaying normal temperatures while the Midwest and Northeast are expected to average warmer than usual.
As for price levels to target, Levine said he sees support located at $7.455, $7.050, $6.950 and then $6.750. The broker believes resistance sits at $7.900, $8.150 and then $8.650.
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