Brokers and speculators (at least some, anyway) may havebreathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday, as volatilityreturned to the New York Mercantile Exchange. The April contractfinally broke out of the tight $2.105-205 trading range that hadbeen containing its movements since March 6 by virtue of its 8.4cent rise to $2.239. Sources agreed the activity was led byanticipatory buying ahead of the release of the latest AGA storagereport. “It was more buy based on rumor today, but the rumor wasstrong enough to drive April above major resistance at $2.205,” oneof the sources told NGI.
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The April NYMEX contract gained a meager 1.8 cents to $2.155 onMonday, as traders continue to hold the spot month to a tighttechnical trading range. The bottom of that range was confirmedwhen April bounced off major support at $2.105. Despite the narrowtrading band, estimated volume still managed to reach 33,502 totalcontracts.
Just as the old saying about the lion and the lamb goes, no onecan ever be sure what kind of weather March will bring. This lackof clear fundamental direction has made its way to the New YorkMercantile Exchange, where the spot April contract was unable tobreak outside of a tight $2.115-$2.205 trading range last week.Since April had virtually no room to move, it is fitting the spotmonth could settle the week only 0.8 cents higher at $2.137.
The April Nymex contract took a 5.1 cent hit to $2.241 onTuesday, as speculators continued to sell positions following thespot month’s inability to break above the $2.355 resistance levelon Monday, a source told GPI. Total volume was estimated at 41,490contracts.
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.