Moderating weather trends appeared to trump Monday’s 31.7-cent spike by expiring May futures as the primary influence on cash trading for the end of April Tuesday. The result was mixed price movement in the East in which most points moved up or down by a dime or less. However, mild temperatures in the Rockies and cool conditions in California caused major losses in the Rockies market and mostly lower prices in the rest of the West.
Articles from Expiring
After beginning Tuesday’s session at the day’s high of $8.120, the February natural gas futures contract wound its way to a $7.900 low before expiring at $7.996, down 9.9 cents from Monday’s close. The March contract followed much of the same course on the day before closing out the session at $7.943, down 9.9 cents as well.
As a marketer had predicted, prices were softer at a large majority of points Thursday due chiefly to a 35.4-cent plunge by the expiring December futures contract the day before and milder weather returning to the South. Northeast citygates, where temperatures are falling and will bottom out around freezing or lower Friday, saw nearly all of the flat to about 75 cents higher exceptions to the overall market trend.
Taking corrective action following Tuesday’s 21-cent-plus gain, natural gas futures traders pushed the expiring September contract to a low of $5.380 on Wednesday before it went off of the board at $5.430, down 16.3 cents on the day.
Continuing the run of recent strength, April natural gas futures cruised to a high of $7.715 during Wednesday’s regular session before expiring at $7.558, up 5.5 cents. With the April contract now being spoken about in the past tense, focus turns to May, which gained 5.7 cents to close at $7.672.
After exploring the upside in morning trade and notching a $7.720 high, November natural gas futures collapsed in the afternoon, recording a low of $7.060 before expiring at $7.153, down 34.4 cents on the day and 8.8 cents lower for the week. December natural gas, now the front month contract, closed Friday 24 cents lower at $7.827.
October natural gas futures traded within a fairly tight 17-cent range Tuesday as the expiring prompt month continued to feel out two-year-old support around the $4.500 level. One day ahead of going off of the board, the contract put in a low of $4.380 before closing at $4.526, up 5.1 cents on the day.
Getting support from weather that would continue baking most of the U.S. through the weekend, Thursday’s 15.5-cent push higher by expiring August futures and a lessening of the storage bearishness that has pervaded the market in recent months, cash prices continued to rise at a majority of points Friday.
Former Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma has been elected to the board of directors of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. for a term expiring in 2005, after which he will stand for re-election by Chesapeake’s shareholders. Nickles retired from the Senate after 24 years at the end of 2004. His election increases the size of Chesapeake’s board to eight members.