The mini-rallies reported at several points in Wednesday’s latecash trading apparently carried over into Thursday, resulting in aflat to slightly higher March swing market. A strong showing byHenry Hub futures on Nymex helped give cash a boost, sources said.In addition, there was enough chillier weather in the midwesternand northeastern market areas to have an impact on heating load.

The Wednesday afternoon storage report had no effect on pricesbecause “everybody knows there is too much [gas in storage]anyway,” according to a marketer.

A producer perceived April basis as “about a quarter-centstronger” Thursday compared to the day before. Another producersaid it seemed that buyers of April gas didn’t expect the futuresrun-up, so they tried to hold out, “but sellers did too.” Tradingwas kind of a standoff most of the day, he said, but some buyerswere emerging to make deals in the afternoon.

A marketer quoted April prices for Panhandle Eastern,ANR-Southwest and NGPL-Midcontinent all in the $1.72-74 range.General Midcontinent basis is minus 8-8.75, he said, with ANR thestrongest at minus 8. He pegged Chicago basis at plus 4.25-4.5.

One trader was hearing El Paso-Permian at $1.64 in the morning,but said the numbers had jumped up to $1.77-775 after lunch. Othersources also reported a slight firming trend in the light amount offixed-price business being done.

A marketer said Chicago citygates for April started the day inthe low $1.80s but he heard a $1.87 deal was done later. “Somebodyout there must know something we don’t,” he added.

Saying his company remains somewhat bearish about the remainderof bidweek, a Midcontinent source admitted, “I think the psychologyis starting to shift. Nobody is hoping for higher prices because ofwinter, they’re hoping for higher prices because we’re going tostart injecting in May and June.” He said he had heard quite a bitof talk about a “long, hot, dry summer for the Southwest. Thatmeans people there are already looking to own gas for electricgeneration.”

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