Prices were mixed but mostly down a few cents Tuesday as traders weighed weather moderation in some areas against colder trends in others. A Calgary-based producer said he had “thought we would pull back further from these price levels, but it seems to be a day of consolidation in the market.”
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Flat numbers reigned across much of the market Tuesday, as a majority of points stayed within about a nickel up or down from unchanged. The gains tended to outweigh the losses, however, and most of the larger upticks occurred in the Rockies. Not coincidentally, the West remained the only market area experiencing severe summer heat.
With little change in overall weather fundamentals over the weekend, the cash market generally emulated the screen Monday and sat back to await further developments. Most points were about a nickel or less up or down from flat; larger gains and losses were few, scattered and capped at 15-20 cents or so.
With the exception of a few scattered flat to barely lower points, nearly all the market was on the same softening page Friday, showing the most unity of price movement since the previous week. Lack of heating load in many areas, the delayed impact of a bearish storage report Thursday and the demand dropoff typical of a weekend produced overall declines ranging from about a nickel to more than 40 cents but concentrated in the teens.
With its principal subsidiary still enmeshed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, San Francisco-based PG&E Corp. last week reported a complicated stream of earnings that included several arcane designations such as “headroom,” reversal of past pre-bankruptcy charges and various energy crisis/bankruptcy charges. The net effect of all the accounting machinations is $631 million, or $1.71/share, of earnings for the first quarter, compared to a $951 million loss, or negative 2.62/share for the same period last year.
Judging from the comments expressed at yesterday’s Senateconfirmation hearing for Energy Secretary nominee Spencer Abraham,California isn’t likely to get much help from the Republicans inCongress for its ailing electricity market, but the Bush WhiteHouse could offer some hope.
A slow and undistinctive trading session Thursday yielded amixed bag of prices that leaned mostly to the slightly softer side.The small declines tended to occur mainly at Eastern points, whilethe West generally was flat to a little higher. Sources continuedto chant the litany of “no weather, no demand.”
For the fifth Monday in a row the bears were dominant in the pitat Nymex as trade and speculative selling pushed natural gas down,effectively erasing gains registered on Friday. Most of the day’smovement happened on the open, leaving the August contract to tradein the mid $1.90s for the rest of the day before closing at $1.965,down 6.6 cents.