Six inches of snow in New York wasn’t enough to convince futurestraders to resume the up-trend the American Gas Association storagereport so thoroughly wiped out last week. The April contract movedsharply lower for the third session in a row, closing down 4.2cents to $1.717. Shortly before the close, the contract broke belowwhat was deemed a key support level at $1.70 to post a low of$1.695 for the day. The $1.755 high was reached just after theopening bell.
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Renewed Price Rises Spread Across All Markets
The cash market shrugged off Tuesday’s modest weakening toresume an upward climb Wednesday. Yesterday’s gains weren’t aslarge as those on Monday (mostly 5-10 cents compared with 10-20cents, respectively). Also unlike Monday’s trading, there was nogeographical divergence with Western increases being significantlyless than the East’s; the Wednesday upticks were mixed relativelyequally in both areas.
Earl Buoys Futures; Some Expect Softening to Resume
For the second day in a row Tuesday, natural gas futuresreceived a strong boost in prices from short-covering activity dueto tropical storm concerns in the Gulf of Mexico. Earl became thefifth named storm in the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season yesterdaywith sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. As of 5:00 P.M. EST Tuesday, Earl was located 240 miles South Southwest of New Orleansand moving toward the Northeast at 12 mph. The October contractopened strong and wasted little time in trending higher before anafternoon sell-off left the market with a modest 3.4 cent gainbefore the closing bell. Estimated volume was a robust 82,172.
Futures Look Poised to Resume Downtrend
The futures market wasted little time continuing lower yesterdayadding to losses registered Wednesday evening following the releaseof the weekly AGA storage report. That report, showing alarger-than-expected 93 Bcf injection gave storage bears somethingto chew on. The August contract opened near its high then tumbled9.9 cents to settle at $2.132 in active trading yesterday.
May Futures Flirt With Technical Support
Just when it appeared the May Nymex contract was in a positionto resume its upward ways, the contract duped hopeful bullishtraders by falling 4.2 cents to $2.479 Thursday. Perhaps moreimportant than the magnitude of the loss is that May failed to moveabove resistance at $2.56, and that the contract spent time belowits significant $2.465 level for a time Thursday before recoveringduring its final half hour of trading.