As traders continued to eye a strengthening cooling demand outlook heading into the second half of June, natural gas futures extended their recent gains in early trading Wednesday. Building on positive finishes in the previous three sessions, the July Nymex contract was up another 6.0 cents to $2.322/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.

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The market is beginning to “look past immediate weakness” as forecasts showed heat building over key markets in Texas and the South Central region during the June 16-22 storage period, EBW Analytics Group analyst Eli Rubin said. 

“Technicals indicate a retest of support at the 20-day moving average at $2.42 is possible,” Rubin said.

The major weather models had been “flip-flopping between hotter and cooler trends” in recent runs, and this...