This week’s moderate bull market came to an end for the mostpart Wednesday as cash prices bowed under the weight of decliningfutures to range from flat to down a little more than a nickel.
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Much like futures, swing price movement came to a nearstandstill Tuesday. Small declines of mostly less than 4 centstended to outweigh the few small scattered gains, but the overalleffect was pancake-like. Few areas were any more than moderatelychilly, and even the Upper Plains, where most Arctic cold frontsstart spreading into the U.S., was seeing temperatures in the 70s.Forecasters reported an absolutely featureless Atlantic stormoutlook.
The moderate price slide that defined much of the cash marketsince late last week reached a plateau Tuesday as flat to slightlyhigher pricing dominated reports. The correlation of cash movementwith a tight-ranged screen was very high, sources said. A gradualwarming trend was just starting to be felt in the major marketareas of the Midwest and Northeast, they added, but it was lendingsupport to small price increases at citygates and in the Gulf Coastand Midcontinent regions.
While the American Gas Association (AGA) report loomed at theend of Wednesday’s trading, moderate temperature forecasts and theeasing of New England and New York electricity jams were enough tocause drops of more than a nickel in the Northeast. The New Yorkcitygate ended the day in the mid $2.50s after ascending to the mid$2.70s on Monday.
Traders who had been pleading for more market volatility duringa long period of relatively little price movement got it in spadesMonday-at least the ones who deal in eastern markets did. Numbersin the East rose by anywhere from 10 to 20 cents, with many pointsup by 15 cents or more. Western increases were considerably moresubdued; many were only a nickel or so, with San Juan Basin’suptick of about a dime leading the region.
Some traders saw little change in April post-weekend pricingMonday, but others reported small to moderate increases. Thatsurprised a few sources because of hearing talk last week that manybuyers planned to wait until Monday to make their purchases,expecting lower prices after futures had expired.