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Natural gas futures - weekly outlook: June 16 - 20

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Shutterstock photo - - U.S. natural gas futures rose to a five-week high before turning modestly lower on Friday, as market players cashed out of the market to lock in gains from the previous session's 5% rally.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in July hit a session high of $4.793 per million British thermal units, the most since May 7, before settling at $4.739 by close of trade, down 0.48%, or 2.3 cents.

Natural gas prices soared 5.63%, or 25.4 cents on Thursday to close at $4.762 per million British thermal units.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.520 per million British thermal units, the low from June 12 and resistance at $4.793, the high from June 13.

Nymex natural gas prices tacked on 0.61%, or 2.9 cents on the week, the third consecutive weekly advance.

Weekly supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration released Thursday showed that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 107 billion cubic feet, below forecasts for an increase of 110 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.606 trillion cubic feet as of last week, nearly 31% below their level this time last year and 35% below the five-year average.

Meanwhile, market players continued to monitor weather forecasts to assess the near-term demand outlook.

Updated weather-forecasting models showed that the Midwest and Texas would see cooler-than-average temperatures over the next five days, while the East and West coasts would experience warmer than normal conditions.

Demand for natural gas tends to rise in the summer months as warmer temperatures increase the need for gas-fired electricity to power air conditioning.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers modestly increased their bullish bets in natural gas futures in the week ending June 10.

Net longs totaled 76,196 contracts, down 6% from net longs of 81,063 in the previous week.

Elsewhere in the energy complex, U.S. crude oil for July delivery settled at $106.91 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, up 3.97%, or $4.25 a barrel, on the week.

Meanwhile, heating oil for July delivery rallied 3.65% on the week to settle at $2.985 per gallon by close of trade Friday. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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