Coming off four consecutive gains – and a big bounce on Thursday — natural gas futures trended further upward to kick off the final trading session of the week. Supported by hotter weather, lower production and bullish inventory data, the July Nymex gas futures contract was up 3.0 cents at $2.563/MMBtu at around 8:40 a.m. ET Friday.

Natural Gas futures

The prompt month had jumped 19.1 cents a day earlier, bolstered by a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that showed supplies in storage increased by a smaller-than-expected 84 Bcf during the week ended June 9

The EIA result was on par with the five-year average. It lifted inventories to 2,634 Bcf and left underground stocks 15.5% above the five-year average. However, the print fell well short of analysts’ median expectations...