The bearish move of the last week was able to squeeze a few more pennies out Tuesday as the July natural gas futures contract — which expires Wednesday — reached a low of $6.840 before settling at $6.877, down 6.3 cents from Monday’s close. Over the last seven regular trading sessions (all losses), the prompt month has shed $1.041.

With expiration right around the corner, the four-month streak of going off of the board in the $7.50s will likely come to an end. The March contract went off the board earlier this year at $7.547 and the April and May contracts expired at $7.558 and $7.508, respectively. Late last month, the June contract finished its run at $7.591. Even as some market participants see the potential for a short-covering bounce into expiration, a close in the $7.50s is seen as unlikely.

“While this market does not look strong to me, I do have to point out that we are currently very close to some pretty strong support at $6.810 on the continuation chart,” said a Washington, DC-based broker. “This fact could result in a bounce in the near term, filling a gap to $7.050. You do have a gap above the market and you probably have a fair amount of speculative open interest on the short side, so the July contract could exit Wednesday on something of a little bounce.”

Even with the bounce, the broker noted that there really isn’t anything bullish surrounding the current market. “You don’t have the weather-produced load demand and you have plenty of supply, so coming into summer, if weather doesn’t show up, the bulls could be looking at nothing but trouble ahead,” he said. “We have clearly broken under $7 for the first time since March and we have tested support down at $6.810, so maybe we will see a little bounce before we take our next shot lower. In general, I think you have to respect the fact that this thing has finally broken out of its range of the last couple of months. We continue to make lower lows and lower settles, which is expanding the bearish scenario.”

The broker noted that the pieces necessary to build a bullish case “just aren’t in place,” adding that a break of $6.810 could lead to a larger move all of the way down to $5.740, which was the low back on Dec. 29.

Others in the market also see little in the way of encouragement for the bulls. “About the only bullish item currently available to this market in our opinion is the fact that it is oversold technically to the extent that any minor supportive headline could easily translate to a significant short-covering rally,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates. He added that as the week’s trading unfolds “current temperature forecasts, lack of tropical storm activity, a likely neutral storage figure and general disregard for petroleum price movements, all point toward a continued weak trade.”

Another factor tugging at natural gas futures is weak cash prices. According to NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index, spot gas at the Henry Hub settled at $6.770 on Monday, or a hefty 17 cents below July futures’ close on that day of $6.940.

MDA EarthSat in its Tuesday six- to 10-day forecast shows above-average temperatures moving east to Chicago with the Mid-Atlantic warming up to normal temperatures. “The most ridging (warm temperatures) is still in the Plains and Rockies,” said Matt Rogers, MDA EarthSat meteorologist.

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