After a spirited rally Tuesday that propelled the Augustcontract to its highest level since July 15, the market took abreather Wednesday as traders elected to wait on the sidelinesahead of fresh fundamental news. The prompt month finished down 0.6cents at $2.394 in choppy, range-bound trading.

“Locals, led by Sandy Trot were buyers on the open in an attemptto trigger buy stops in the $2.42-44 area. But follow-throughbuying dried up and they were forced to liquidate their longpositions,” said Tom Saal of Miami-based Pioneer Futures. Saalfeels it might have been the bulls last opportunity for a while.”The market’s failure to put together a more substantial rallyfollowing the hot weather forecasts may have been the coup degrace,” he said.

But just as traders were beginning to discount forecasts callingfor warm weather, the National Weather Service (NWS) upped theante. In the latest six-to 10-day forecast released yesterdayafternoon, the NWS looks for an even larger expanse of above-normaltemperatures. And within that swath of above-normal temperaturescovering most of the U.S. east of the Rockies, the NWS expectsmuch-above normal temperatures from the central Great Plains acrossmost of the Midwest. Only the southern tip of Florida and theextreme West Coast will see below-normal temperatures.

The bullish weather report may have been tempered somewhat bythe weekly storage figures, however. The American Gas Associationsaid 91 Bcf was injected into underground storage facilities lastweek, which was more than preliminary estimates of about 80-90 Bcfand last year’s 72 Bcf figure.

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