Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Natural Gas Goes Vertical After Gapping Higher

The March futures expired yesterday and book-squaring can account for some of the move over the last week but that doesn't explain today's up 8 cents at $3.54. I don't trust it and feel like the whole market (rather than a couple 'puters) is getting spoofed. Here's the recent action via FinViz:

The Journal is talking about a big EIA report tomorrow but unless something has changed in the production picture since last week even a 200 Bcf pull wouldn't matter much this late in the season. Here's the WSJ:
Natural Gas Rises on Expectations for Big Storage Withdrawal 
-Natural-gas prices up 0.9% to recently trade at $3.486/MMBtu
--Traders expect stronger storage withdrawal reported Thursday than last week
--Cold weather forecasts also helping prices
   By Nicole Hong 
NEW YORK--Natural-gas futures rose 1% on Wednesday on expectations that cold weather has cut supplies and trimmed fears about bloated stockpiles of the home-heating fuel.

Traders are betting on natural-gas prices to rise ahead of a weekly inventory report on Thursday, which is expected to show a larger natural-gas withdrawal than the previous week's 127 billion cubic feet. The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases the data at 10:30 a.m. EST Thursday.

Phil Flynn, energy analyst at Price Futures Group, said he anticipates a 160 bcf withdrawal, which is well above the five-year average withdrawal of about 118 bcf.

"We've had a big spike up in gas prices, but people are reluctant to sell into it because we should see a good draw in tomorrow's inventory data," Mr. Flynn said Wednesday.

He added, "It was very cold last week, and demand should be pretty good."...MORE
Here's a bit longer view of the action via FuturesMag:

Click to enlarge.

Even though it's a different contract and thus has no "trading memory" that gap from the 22nd  looks like a fair target.
As the young urban troubadours might put it "Know what I'm sayin'?"