After a steep 13-cent rally during the prior trading session, natural gas futures pedaled back a bit early Thursday as major weather models showed slightly less heat in mid-August. The September Nymex gas futures contract was trading two-tenths of a cent lower at $4.156 at 8:45 a.m. ET.

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Despite the loss of 2-3 cooling degree days from the long-range outlook, next week still is expected to bring the hottest weather of the summer. However, the sweltering outlook for the eastern half of the country is now expected to ease a bit by Aug. 16.

Above-normal temperatures instead are likely to remain in the West, including the Northwest, where much above-normal temperatures are forecast early in the period, according to Maxar’s Weather Desk. The forecaster said the models are hotter in...