Futures Bend But Refuse to Break

The May futures contract suffered a third straight day of lossesby slipping a mere 0.6-cents to settle at $2.469 in relativelyquiet trading. The session was marked by light selling as bearsprobed for sell-stops but was kept in check by buying ahead of the2.435-.440 level. A modest 31,695 contracts changed hands in asession that saw no new fundamental developments.

April 21, 1998

Futures Traders End Week With Little Fanfare

The May Nymex contract nudged 0.4 cents lower to $2.475 Friday,amid a day when the contract could neither sustain a move belowtechnical support at $2.44 nor rise any higher than $2.498. Totalestimated volume came in at 46,216, much of which was the work oftraders covering positions before the weekend, a source said.

April 20, 1998

Nymex Prices Continue Strong March Into Summer

The May Nymex contract surged 13.3 cents to $2.668 Wednesday,despite cash market prices which remained relatively unchanged. Thereason why? “Who really knows, but what I do know enough funds wereconvinced this market was a play to trigger buy stops above $2.61.Estimated volume of more than 80,000 contracts tells you that,” asource told GPI.

April 8, 1998

May Futures Trading Starts The Week On a Slow Note

The May Nymex contract nudged 2.1 cents lower to $2.535 Mondayamid a session marked by a relatively light total estimated volumefigure of just over 30,000 contracts. “Many traders are waiting fordirection from the cash market, and since that hardly moved today,it makes sense futures hardly budged either,” an analyst told GPI.

April 7, 1998

May Futures Set New Record, Then Record Loss

The May Nymex contract lost 2.1 cents to $2.501 Wednesday amidone of the most active non-expiration days in exchange history. Anestimated 93,649 contracts changed hands, many of which were tradedafter May fell back from its new all-time high trade of $2.56. “Mayhad pretty good resistance at $2.58, but I think funds were anxiousto take profits,” an analyst told GPI.

April 2, 1998

Aftermarket Strength Credited to Screen Run-Up

The April aftermarket got off to a running start with swingdeals being done Tuesday often 2-3 cents above bidweek averages,with a few points even stronger than that. Sources were virtuallyunanimous in attributing the cash strength to a further run-up onthe futures screen. In fact, traders were buzzing all day about thedizzying heights being hit by the May contract, often withquestions like, “What the heck is driving this thing?”

April 1, 1998

Early Dose of Summer Sends May Futures Above $2.40

The May Nymex contract rallied 5.7 cents to settle Monday at$2.409, thanks to what sources said was good peak demand buying inthe physical market. “There was definitely some peak airconditioning demand in Texas today, and that’s exactly where youwant to see it to influence natural gas prices,” one of the sourcessaid. Buoyed by that strength, May had no problem rising from itsopening trade of $2.345, which also turned out to be its low pricefor the day.

March 31, 1998

April Futures Contract Holds On For $2.30 Settle

The April Nymex contract went off the board in bearish fashionon Friday as the spot month fell 3.8 cents to conclude its tradingat $2.300. A broker noted this was as “boring” a settlement day ashe could remember, probably because low volatility last week gavetraders ample opportunities to get out of their positions beforeFriday, he said.

March 30, 1998

April Futures are Home in Their Range

The April NYMEX contract gained a meager 1.8 cents to $2.155 onMonday, as traders continue to hold the spot month to a tighttechnical trading range. The bottom of that range was confirmedwhen April bounced off major support at $2.105. Despite the narrowtrading band, estimated volume still managed to reach 33,502 totalcontracts.

March 17, 1998

April Futures Are Stuck In Their Teens

The April Nymex contract lost yet another chance to break out ofits recent trading range by falling 3.8-cents to settle Thursday at$2.134. “If April were ever going to break out of its tradingrange, perhaps today was the day,” a trader told GPI. “April brokeabove major resistance at $2.19, and forecasts are calling foranother potential cold front next week. Yet April fell hard afterreaching a high of $2.205. That tells me there is no wayspeculators are buying into the fact that fundamentals warrant ahigher move. It also shows they are wary of initiating fresh longpositions,” he said.

March 13, 1998