The overall tone of the cash market remained flat Thursday, buta growing number of points were recording tiny decreases. Thetouches of softness came even as an eastbound cold front reachedthe nation’s midsection, reminding regions that had beenexperiencing record seasonal warmth recently that winter isn’tquite over yet. One source speculated that prices may be finallystarting to crack under the strain of having maintained theirpositions during a long period of no fundamentals support. Even thearrival of some for-real weather fundamentals may not be enough toprovide support, he said.

It’s a very frustrating situation, according to a Texasproducer. “There’s plenty of gas being produced so we don’t need topull storage, but there’s no point in putting any more back intothe ground now.” She thinks that’s why trading volumes have beenconsiderably smaller than usual this month for many marketparticipants.

Though quotes in the Southwest basins started the day downslightly to the mid $1.60s, cooler weather generated enough of aresurgence to bring daily averages back to flat levels, a marketersaid.

Some traders were already starting to do deals through Tuesday,an activity that should increase today. Alberta’s provincial FamilyDay holiday coincides with Presidents Day in the U.S., a Calgarysource said, so any Monday trading should be minuscule at most.Then the holiday will be followed by Tuesday’s start of the HoustonEnergy Expo, which will help keep a lid on market volatility asmany traders will roll over deals throughout next week.

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