IntercontinentalExchange deemed the first week of business for itsB2B electronic over-the-counter precious metals marketplace a success,with “no hours of down time” and “growth in both volume andcustomers.” The online scalable trading system called “The ICE,”traded precious metals spot, forwards and options within its firstweek of service (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25).
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Following the lead of both the over-the-counter and cashmarkets, natural gas futures erupted higher yesterday morning astraders covered shorts on the outside possibility that a tropicalstorm might develop in the Gulf of Mexico. The September contractwas the biggest mover, posting an impressive 21.3-cent gain tofinish at $3.987.
Despite an impressive bounce Thursday afternoon and strongerover-the-counter trades Friday morning, natural gas futures werehit with a second day of losses Friday as locals deposited themarket lower after finding an intermediate layer of resistance at$4.16. The July and August contracts moved lower in lockstep, eachshedding 2.1 cents to finish the week at $4.043 and $4.022respectively. Estimated volume was 82,698.
Spurred by constructive over-the-counter dealings, along with alittle apprehension ahead of today’s release of fresh storage data,the July contract gapped higher at the open yesterday en route toan unprecedented 15th advance in 16 trading sessions. After makinga “head fake” lower about mid-morning Tuesday, the July contractrumbled 8.6 cents higher to finish at $4.354.
A gang of heavy-hitters hopes to take global over-the-counter(OTC) trading of energy, metal and other commodities to a whole newballpark — the Internet, where liquidity is expected to be big.Last week’s announcement of the plan was followed by a relatedupset of Nymex board members and speculation that others will befollowing the group’s lead.
An actively traded over-the-counter market set the stage for aturbulent session Friday in the natural gas pit at Nymex andtraders did not disappoint — taking prices higher on the openbefore sending them lower in two distinct selling waves.
Despite bullish over the counter dealings and a constructiveopening, the natural gas futures market shuffled lower Monday asshort-term traders sold off newly acquired long positions. TheNovember contract notched a $3.02 high shortly after the open thenproceeded lower to its $2.86 low for the session. A late rallybolstered prices near the closing bell to $2.92, a 5.5-cent loss onthe day.
After a week of offers, acceptances and counter-offers, Southern Union and Oneok are now waiting to see who is awarded the prize of merging with Southwest Gas. Both companies said they have reached the maximum they can offer. The only winners so far, according to a source close to the situation, have been Southwest Gas’ shareholders, who have seen the price for their shares vault from an original $28.50/share to $33.50/share.
Thursday night’s Access gains, and higher prices in both theover-the-counter and cash market set the stage for the May futurescontract to blast off Friday. In fact, the buzz around the pit atNymex early Friday centered on when, not if, the prompt month wouldfill in the chart gap up to $2.19. But despite all the hoopla andbullish sentiment, the May contract could manage only a half-pennygain from its $2.16 open, leaving the market to trend lowerthroughout the rest of the day. May finished 1.3 cents lower at$2.124.