After gapping higher on the open and racing to new highs,natural gas futures were hit with a powerful wave of selling latein the session that trimmed most of yesterday’s gains and lefttraders wondering if more selling is in store for the market on itsexpiration day today.
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The early May aftermarket is shaping up as typical of itspredecessors in the new millennium: showing remarkable strengthdespite a general lack of fundamental support. Only in the West,where a combination of hot weather and nuclear outages sent powerprices spiking, did sources see anything besides a sharp rise onthe futures screen to account for Monday’s cash upticks.
The typical slump in gas demand that accompanies a weekend wasable to coax a smidgen of softness out of the cash marketFriday-but just barely. Flatness was the word at quite a fewpoints, and decreases at others only rarely exceeded 2-3 cents.Sources continued to remark on how relatively stable the marketfeels even when prices come off a little.
Cash prices were down again Wednesday in response to typicalshoulder month lack of cooling demand and downward pressure fromfalling Nymex futures prices. The futures drop of about 8 cents ledmost cash points down by amounts in the same neighborhood orgreater. However, there were mild rebounds occurring late, said atrader in the Gulf Coast and Southwest markets.