Meager Five-Cent Futures Gain Does Little to Dissuade Market Bears

Though a casual look at the 4.7-cent increase and $4.677 close in September futures might suggest the trading action was price-supportive Tuesday, that analysis fails to take into account the myriad of factors that paint a decidedly bearish picture of the trading session. Not only did the natural gas futures market fail to keep pace with crude oil prices Tuesday, but it also lacked any substantial buying boost after probing down to key support at $4.60 on Monday. At 51,457, estimated volume was also weak, evidence that the market is without a clear consensus.

August 6, 2003

Late Sell-Off Takes Back Storage-Induced Spike; More Weakness Possible Friday

A casual observer of Thursday’s futures market might see March’s 4.5-cent decline and $5.74 settle and assume it was another day of light profit taking following a slightly bearish storage report (150 Bcf withdrawal). However, on closer inspection Thursday’s session was anything but “just another day,” with wild price swings, high volatility and a 30-cent trading range.

February 14, 2003

Bulls vs. Bears Wednesday: Call it a Tie

A casual observer of the natural gas futures market might lookat the narrow losses in the January contract and the modest gainsin the out months and conclude there was a quiet, post-expirationtrading lull in the Nymex pit Wednesday. December lost 8.5% of itsvalue in its last two trading days, and traders were just easinginto trading January, right? Wrong.

November 30, 2000

Futures Surpass $5.00 on Storage Data, But for How Long?

A casual observer looking back at yesterday’s natural gasfutures trading might take notice of the somewhat narrow 14-centtrading range and not-so-uncommon-lately 12.1-cent prompt monthgain and conclude that Wednesday was just another ho-hum day at theNew York Mercantile Exchange.

September 7, 2000

Commercials Fight to Draw on Next to Last Day

A casual observer of yesterday’s market would look at the tighttrading range, low volatility and unchanged settlement and concludeit was a quiet trading day at the New York Mercantile Exchangewhere neither bull nor bear prevailed. But beneath February’s4-cent trading range and $1.714 settlement price, a battle waswaged as commercial traders in opposing camps, unencumbered bylocals who have largely moved on to March dealings, trieddesperately to influence a move in their direction. And so, as asource from a mid-sized gas marketer lamented, “the big boys wereat it again.”

January 27, 1999

August Futures Expire Mostly Flat Amid Flurry of Activity

A casual glance at the futures table — its narrow trading rangeand its small daily change — would lead one to believe Wednesdaywas a relatively quiet expiration day at Nymex, during which theAugust contract was ushered off the board at $1.942. ButWednesday’s trading was anything but ordinary. Traders wereinundated by a host of technical and fundamental factors, leadingto “very choppy” trading and heavy volume of 116,428.

July 30, 1998

Choppy Trading Leaves July Nearly Unchanged

A casual observer to Friday’s futures market would note themodest 0.7 cent gain registered by the prompt month and conclude itwas a quiet day of position squaring ahead of the weekend. However,trading in the pit was anything but serene as the prompt contractopened below $2.00, tested support from the continuation chart at$1.97, then moved higher looking to fill in a chart gap in the$2.05-09 range. And all that happened before the lunch hour in NewYork. Afternoon trading brought some selling pressure into themarket and July drifted back downward, before settling nearlyunchanged at $2.027 for the day. Estimated volume weighed in at ahefty 57,301 with trading within a 10-cent trading range.

June 8, 1998