After opening at the pivotal $2.00 level yesterday the Maycontract was held to a tight, 3.5-cent trading range, as tradersseemed willing to sell the prompt contract on moves above $2.00 andbuy the market on moves below $2.00. And similar to the priceaction, yesterday’s close had something for everyone. Bulls foundsolace in the market’s ability to finish above $2.00, while bearswere optimistic following the market’s second-straight day oflosses. May slipped 1.7 cents to $2.013.
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Following three straight days of gains, bull traders had theirwinning streak cut late Monday after trading in positive territoryfor much of the session. And although many sources were expecting apullback following the near 20-cent price spike last week, somefelt the prompt contract’s inability to make a new high was anegative feature. The May contract finished down 0.8 cents at$2.03.
Feeding off late gains notched by the expiring April contractMonday, May kicked off its campaign as the spot month at Nymexyesterday by continuing higher in active trading. And whereas Aprilcontract made its mark in a late short squeeze, May was promptedhigher throughout the day by a steady stream of commercial andspeculative buying. Several sources also pointed to buy-stoporders, which were triggered as the market moved through the$1.93-95 range as a reason for the strength. May finished up 9.5cents at $1.978.
After a convincing 7-cent gain to kick off the week, the futuresmarket forged higher yesterday morning amid continuedshort-covering mixed with some fresh buying activity. The Aprilcontract was bumping up against the March 12 high of $1.825 inmid-day trading, but in the afternoon the buying dried up, leavingonly sellers to determine the market direction. The resulting priceslide-7 cents in 45 minutes-send the prompt month spiraling lowerto finish at $1.754.
Daniel Rappaport was elected to a fourth two-year term asNymex’s chairman, making him the longest currently sitting chairmanof any futures exchange in the world, , the exchange announcedWednesday. Rappaport was first elected to the position in 1993.Before his election, he served six years as a member of Nymex’sboard of directors. Rappaport has been a member of the exchangesince 1981.
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.
Expiration days are known for their unusualness, but perhaps noother day in the history of the New York Mercantile Exchange willmatch the one turned in yesterday. The last few days of trading hadbeen relatively tame, but a telephone glitch that knocked outcommunications on the floor of the Exchange (see “Phone Lines Dead; Nymex TradingDisrupted”) at approximately 1:50 EST forced many traders intotrading at prices and volumes “that they otherwise would not havedone,” a source told GPI. As a result of the madness, the Marchcontract finally left the board at $2.286, up an even 7.0 cents forthe day.
Expiration week is supposed to be about extreme volatility atthe New York Mercantile Exchange, but the March natural gascontract exhibited anything but that on Monday. The spot monthinched 1.9 cents lower to $2.179 yesterday, amid a session bound bya tight 4-cent trading range
The March Nymex contract inched 3.2 cents higher to $2.270 onThursday, amid a session sources agreed was once again dominated bytechnicals. “This looks like a very strong trading range, sotoday’s result was to be expected,” a trader said. “March drifted afew cents toward the bottom of its range on Wednesday, so it makessense the contract would move higher today. Because the tradingrange is so tight right now, that is limiting how much March can goup,” he said.