Following a frenetic week of April trading featuring near20-cent price swings and unusually high volume in both futures andcash markets, Monday’s market exhibited a calmness that remindedtraders April is a shoulder month. But, regardless of the smalllosses and lack of excitement generated yesterday, prices are stillat their highest levels since the December bidweek and as much as80 cents above year ago levels.
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Cash numbers were softening as expected Thursday, following theprompt of the futures screen’s late downturn Wednesday. But itlooks like it’s already time to reverse field again and head upwardtoday based on the screen’s strong gain Thursday, sources said.
The April Nymex contract gained another 6.1 cents to $2.300 onThursday, as the contract continued to move higher following thebreakout from its recent technical trading range. Despite thestrong rally and heavy estimated volume of 72,113 contracts, theupsurge stopped just short of breaking through its next resistancelevel at $2.305.
The proposed merger of Pacific Enterprises and Enova Corp. wascleared by the U.S. Department of Justice following a settlementagreement that calls for the merged company to divest itsgeneration assets and seek additional DOJ approval of any purchasesof existing power plants exceeding 500 MW of capacity inCalifornia. It calls for Enova to follow through on its previouslyannounced auction of San Diego Gas & Electric’s (Enova’sprimary electric utility subsidiary) two fossil-fuel power plants,located in Carlsbad and Chula Vista, CA. The agreement ends DOJ’sreview and clears the merger under the notification requirements ofthe Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act.
The April Nymex contract fell 2.9 cents to $2.292 on Monday,following the spot month’s failed attempt to clear a majorresistance level. “April was in a two hurdle race today, but ittripped on the second hurdle,” a trader told GPI. “On the one hand,April was able to break out of the symmetrical triangle formationby moving above $2.34. However, April immediately fell back once itfilled in the chart gap at $2.355. There were quite a few standingsell orders at that price, so it’s no wonder the contract fellback,” he said.
Consumers Energy will expand its “Gas Customer Choice” retailprogram this April to 100,000 customers state-wide in Michigan,following a one-year pilot that allowed 500 customers in Bay Countyto pick another natural gas supplier. In all, 300,000 customerswill be given a choice of suppliers over the next three years.