A tight range and relatively quiet trading returned to thenatural gas futures pit on Monday following last Friday’s failedrally that briefly touched overhead resistance. And althoughyesterday’s highs did not approach the $1.875 notched last week,some traders felt the move was constructive for prices. Theprompt-March contract was limited to a 1.8-cent gain to finish at$1.818 for the day.

Yesterday’s lethargic activity gave bulls and bears alike theopportunity to express their frustration with the market’s lack ofsustained direction. However, a Houston-based broker was quick tolay blame on poor physical market signals. “It’s winter and sofundamentals are king. When you have very little heating demand andcash prices do not budge, it is difficult for the futures market tomake new highs or lows.” Daily GPI’s Henry Hub price for today is a$1.81, just a fraction of a penny off the futures close.

Meanwhile across town, a marketer sees hope-at least in theshort-term-for the bulls. “There are some [weather] models outthere calling for a cold front to drift from the Midwest to theEast this weekend. That could push the market to test the $1.91level by Friday,” he reasoned. However, in order for the market tobreak into the $1.90s, it will first have to pierce through the40-day moving average, which yesterday was $1.874. But a technicianfeels that the price outlook might need to get worse before it getsbetter. “If the market moves lower it will uncover some technicalbuying in the $1.71-72 area. That could be the impetus needed toswitch attention from the bearish fundamentals to an increasinglybullish technical picture.”

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