After gapping lower at the open, natural gas futures tumbled lower for the third day in a row and the sixth out of seven sessions as traders tested the bottom end of the market’s eight-week trading range. However, when the dust had settled and the orders counted at Nymex, it was clear that support had held, leaving traders slightly bullish heading into today’s expiration. On its penultimate day, the May contract closed 9.7 cents lower at $4.981, about 42 cents below where it was when it began its tenure as prompt month.
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Amid a steady stream of non-commercial selling, natural gasfutures tumbled lower yesterday morning, renewing fears that themarket may not have reached a bottom and further losses arepossible. Plunging to its lowest level in more than three months,the April contract took the selling on the chin yesterday, falling15.7 cents to close at $5.006. Volume at Nymex was healthy with anestimated 56,626 contracts changing hands.
What was gained on Wednesday was quickly lost yesterday as mostcash prices tumbled about 40 to 50 cents on average following theafternoon post-storage-report dip in Nymex futures the day prior.Southern California prices lost several dollars but most borderspot quotes still came in above $30.
In a trading session that rewarded the contrarian viewpoint,natural gas futures tumbled lower Wednesday afternoon after traderslearned that the market withdrew a larger-than-expected volume ofgas out of the ground last week. The March contract shuffled 55cents lower during the last 70 minutes of trading yesterday toclose at $5.707, off 39 cents for the day.
After opening on a strong note, natural gas futures tumbledlower in the first half-hour of trading Monday as traders tookprofits following Friday’s surprising 17.1-cent rally. However,once December had etched a $4.80 low for the day, the market wasleft to chop lazily sideways for the rest of the session. Theprompt month finished at $4.849, down 8.2 cents for the day.
After trading higher for most of the session, natural gasfutures tumbled lower in the last hour of trading as traders wereable to look past higher crude oil prices to instead focus onbearish storage and weather concerns. As is usually the case, theprompt month led the charge, falling 21.1 cents lower to close at$5.228.
Volatility was once again the name of the game yesterday in thenatural gas pit at Nymex as prices tumbled lower after bulls failedto do much of anything with yesterday’s stronger opening trade. TheNovember contract was dealt the most severe blow, slipping 13.8cents to close at $5.152. The winter strip did not fare muchbetter, dropping a cool 12.5 cents to finish at 5.076.
Taking a cue from the July contract, which tumbled in anexpiration-day sell-off, August began its tenure as prompt month byslipping lower yesterday morning as traders continued to look pasta bullish storage situation to focus on bearish short-term demandoutlooks. But just like other moves lower in recent weeks,yesterday’s retracement was short-lived and by 11:15 a.m. (EDT)buyers had promoted the near-month back into positive territory onthe day.
After testing, but not breaching stubborn resistance at $4.60Thursday, natural gas futures tumbled lower Friday as traderselected to take profits ahead of the weekend. The near-month Julycontract was hit with two distinct selling waves during the firsthour of trading Friday, setting the tone for a session in which thecontract slipped 10.3 cents to finish at $4.448.