Continuing its streak of record results, Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), operator of global exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) markets, reported that its consolidated net income increased 68% to a record $240.6 million in 2007 from $143.3 million in 2006. In addition, the company reported consolidated net income for the fourth quarter of 2007 of $64.7 million, a 32% increase compared to $49 million for the fourth quarter of 2006.
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Bringing the streak to six consecutive lower closes and a loss of nearly a dollar, July natural gas futures on Monday dipped below $7 to close at $6.940, down 19 cents from Friday’s close. With expiration around the corner on Wednesday, the prompt month has shed 97.8 cents since its June 15 close at $7.918.
July natural gas futures continued lower on Wednesday, bringing the down-day streak to three and the cumulative loss to 52.7 cents during that period. The prompt month reached a low of $7.350 before closing out the day’s regular session at $7.391, down 12.8 cents from Tuesday.
Ending the streak of consecutive triple-digit injections at three, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that 92 Bcf was put into underground storage for the week ended June 8. The double-digit build was all that was necessary for the bulls to take control once again, as July natural gas futures soared to a high of $7.825 before settling at $7.808, up 20 cents from Wednesday’s close.
Prices continued Thursday a streak of mixed daily movement that began about three weeks ago, but there were signs of growing weakness setting in that likely means all points will be united in declines Friday. Cooling load was still fairly high in the South and growing significantly in the Northeast, but dropping drastically in the Midwest and much of the West.
Stopping the streak of consecutive days of higher settles at four, natural gas futures traders took a breather Wednesday ahead of what is expected to be a bullish storage report on Thursday. February natural gas traded in a slim $7.350 to $7.540 range before settling at $7.421, down 17.6 cents on the day.
Bringing the consecutive down-day streak to seven, June natural gas futures on Friday reached a low of $6.490 before settling at $6.555, down a quarter on the day and $1.661 lower than the contract’s close the previous Friday. During the eventful week, May futures expired on Wednesday at $7.198.
March natural gas broke its streak of eight consecutive regular sessions lower on Thursday, testing the $7 level again before rallying higher to close at $7.134, up 6.8 cents on the day. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that 102 Bcf was withdrawn from underground stores for the week ended Feb. 10. The number, which was closer to historical analogs than other recent weekly withdrawals, was still short of the industry’s expectations.
To no one’s surprise, prices extended their losing streak since midweek into the weekend with across-the-board declines. Below normal temperatures in most areas outside the West Coast and Southwest, storage-related futures weakness the day before, and the continuing recovery of Gulf of Mexico production from storm shut-ins made Friday’s softening a foregone conclusion, sources said.
Those who suspected Thursday that the week’s upward price momentum was starting to fade go to the head of the class. After four straight days of rising quotes at nearly all points, softness set in Friday across the board. Declines ranged from about a nickel to a quarter, with a majority being in the teens.