Category 2 Hurricane Isidore left the gas market playing all sorts of guessing games going into the weekend. However, most of the storm’s price-boosting impact appeared to have been spent in the eastern gains of nearly half a dollar over the previous two days. Friday’s small gains at Northeast citygates and some Gulf Coast points were greatly outweighed by flat to slightly lower numbers at other Gulf Coast points and larger losses throughout nearly all of the Midcontinent/Midwest and West.
Articles from Guessing
After spending precious little time in the $1.80s Monday, February natural gas futures bubbled higher on expiration day yesterday as a late round of local short-covering boosted prices back above the $2.00 mark. By virtue of its 9.8-cent gain and $2.006 final settlement price, the February contract managed to avoid last October’s fate of a sub-$2.00 closing price. Volume was normal for an expiration day with 129,016 contracts changing hands.
Bulls saved their best for last on Friday. After being held to an extremely-tight, 7-cent trading range throughout much of the session, natural gas futures shot high during the closing 75 minutes of trading in concert with a spike in the nearby crude oil pit. At the closing bell, June natural gas futures were up a modest 4.3 cents or 1% at $4.291. Comparatively, June crude was up an even dollar or a little over 3% at $29.91.
The White House remained mum throughout last week on its finalchoice for FERC chairman, but sources indicate that President Bushcontinues to champion Texas regulator Pat Wood III over currentFERC Chairman Curt Hebert Jr. for the job despite mounting pressurefrom Capitol Hill to keep Hebert.
The White House has remained mum throughout the week on itsfinal choice for FERC chairman, but sources indicate that PresidentBush continues to champion Texas regulator Pat Wood III overcurrent FERC Chairman Curt Hebert Jr. for the job despite mountingpressure from Capitol Hill to keep Hebert.
The futures market began the week in much the same fashion thatit concluded last week-quiet, range-bound trading where neitherbull nor bear could make much of an impact. After notching up to a$2.23 high late in the session Monday, the August contract filteredlower to settle at $2.207, a 2-cent gain for the day.
For the third session in a row, natural gas futures see-sawed toeither side of unchanged yesterday as traders eschewed eitherbuying or selling the market outside of its recent trading range.After etching out a $2.34 low Tuesday morning, speculative buyingwas once again seen trying to push the July contract throughresistance at $2.40. But resistance held and the contract sank backto finish at $2.367, a 0.5-cent decline on the day.
Lack of follow-through selling kept the bears guessing yesterdayat Nymex as the market ignored a trio of bearish factors-weather,storage, and cash prices-to trade nearly unchanged on the day. TheNovember contract was limited to a tight trading range and settleddown just 0.4 cents to $2.176 for the day. Estimated volume was43,394.