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Natural gas gains on bargain hunting, warmer weather forecasts

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Shutterstock photo - - Bargain hunters snapped up nicely-priced natural gas futures on Monday and sent the commodity edging up into positive territory, wiping out losses sustained from recent mild weather forecasts.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in September traded at $3.808 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 0.83%. The commodity hit a session low of $3.731, and a high of $3.817.

The September contract settled down 3.33% on Friday to end at $3.776 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $3.725 per million British thermal units, the low from July 28, and resistance at $4.020, last Tuesday's high.

Forecasts for mild weather to edge out a heat wave over portions of the eastern half of the U.S. sent natural gas prices plunging on Friday, though by Monday morning, bottom fishers felt the commodity had fallen too far.

Milder temperatures cut into the need for natural gas this time of year, as households and businesses throttle back on their air conditioning, though longer-range forecasts earlier Monday called for a return of seasonably warm temperatures next week, which also supported prices.

Investors also continued to digest Thursday's supply report.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 8 rose by 78 billion cubic feet, below expectations for an increase of 83 billion cubic feet.

Inventories rose by 70 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change is a build of 45 billion cubic feet.

Injections of gas into storage have surpassed the five-year average for 17 consecutive weeks, alleviating concerns over tightening supplies.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.467 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 530 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 575 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.042 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The EIA's next storage report is slated for release on Thursday, Aug. 21, with analysts expecting a build of 82 billion cubic feet for the week ending Aug. 15.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in October were down 1.91% at $93.50 a barrel, while heating oil for September delivery were down 1.51% at $2.8050 per gallon. 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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