Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gas Fund Roll ‘Slaughtered’ Traders, Adds Volatility (UNG)

See also "Goldman roll" .
From Bloomberg:
Speculators trying to profit from the U.S. Natural Gas Fund’s roll of futures contracts got “slaughtered” and helped boost volatility as gas prices surged this week, said Adam Felesky, chief executive officer of BetaPro Management Inc.

Gas for October delivery rose 27 percent, through yesterday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, forcing traders to cover bets that the gas fund’s sale of the contract would reduce the price, Felesky said. Volatility jumped to the highest level since Amaranth Advisors LLC collapsed in September 2006.

Speculators shorted October gas, anticipating that the $4 billion gas fund would push prices down when it began selling its October contracts on Sept. 14, said Felesky, whose C$1 billion ($937.1 million) Horizons BetaPro Nymex Natural Gas Bull Plus ETF rolled around the same time as the larger fund.

“The ‘smart money’ was positioned ahead of the roll,” Felesky said. “Everyone was on the same side of the trade. The roll was a non-event, and everybody got slaughtered. I think it’s the pros that got killed.”

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund, which trades under the ticker UNG, began selling, or rolling, its October contracts and buying November contracts on Sept. 14, and will complete the roll into November contracts today, according to its Web site.

John Hyland, chief investment officer for the Alameda, California-based fund, said anyone betting that the roll would widen the spread between October and November gas contracts had “only a random chance of being right.”>>>MORE