Feeding off last Thursday’s late sell-off, natural gas futurestumbled lower yesterday as traders liquidated January positionsahead of the contract’s expiration Tuesday. After gapping lower atthe open, January dropped below key support levels at $2.38-39 and$2.32-34 en route to its $2.271 settlement. Including yesterday’s12.8-cent decline, the January contract has plummeted 45 cents fromMonday’s $2.715 high of a week ago.
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Despite the coldest weather of the season, the futures markettumbled lower yesterday as traders relieved technical overboughtconditions by unloading new long positions. Cash prices, whichslipped for only the second time in eight trading sessions, werealso seen as a negative factor. After opening near the bottom ofMonday’s wide trading range, bears wasted little time takingJanuary down 10.7 cents to settle at $2.522.
Adding to the price erosion that began last Tuesday, natural gasfutures tumbled lower at the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday asunsupportive cash market values met with heavy local selling.However, when a second wave of selling failed to materialize,speculative traders were forced to cover shorts into the closeyesterday, sources said. The August contract finished at $2.144,down 1.9 cents on the day.
The natural gas futures market tumbled lower last Friday morningwhen a lower open was greeted with steady, unchecked sellingpressure. But after getting caught snoozing early in the day, bullsfought back by bidding up the March contract above $1.80 in choppymidday activity. And by 2:30 in the afternoon many sources feltthat the market would close out the week quietly-right? Wrong-lateposition squaring and market-on-close sell orders had the last sayFriday as they deposited the prompt month contract to its $1.777settle. Estimated volume was 67,482.
After seesawing throughout most of the morning, futures pricestumbled again Wednesday as traders surveyed the threat of freshbearish fundamental news. The front-month January contract finisheddown 7.2 cents to $1.886 at the close, barely off session lows of$1.88. Estimated volume was a healthy 67,274.
As most players expected for Thursday’s cash market, gas pricestumbled across the board amid moderating temperatures throughoutmajor markets nationwide. Cash prices fell about a dime on averageat most trading points.
Natural Gas futures tumbled late in the trading session Tuesday,breaking momentarily below major support at $1.945, before settlingat $1.951. The nearly 15-cent slide exhibited by the Augustcontract comes on the heels of a nearly 3-week decline, leavingmany traders wondering if Tuesday’s big move lower was the end ofthe downtrend or one just picking up speed. Estimated volume of106,004 contracts favored the later.