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Natural gas prices dive as investors price in cool snap, take profits

CommoditiesMar 18, 2014 02:42PM ET
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Investing.com - Natural gas futures fell on Tuesday after investors locked in gains from a late-season cold snap and sold the commodity for profits on sentiments spring's milder temperatures will curb demand for heating.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April traded at $4.462 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 1.64%. The commodity hit session high of $4.549 and a low of $4.447.

The April contract settled up 2.51% on Monday to end at $4.536 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.342 per million British thermal units, Friday's low, and resistance at $4.585, Monday's high.

Gas prices shot up on Monday as a winter storm trekked across the heavily populated central and northeastern portions of the country, a system that investors bet would hike demand for heating.

By Tuesday, profit takers sent the commodity into negative territory.

Updated weather-forecasting models called seasonably mild temperatures across the Midwest and Southeast through the rest of the week, though a possible return of cooler mercury readings gave natural gas some support.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.001 trillion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2003.

Prices slumped to a seven-week low of $4.341 per million British thermal units on Friday, amid concerns that the arrival of spring will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for heating.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were up 1.17% and trading at $98.77 a barrel, while heating oil for April delivery were up 0.63% and trading at $2.9089 per gallon.

Natural gas prices dive as investors price in cool snap, take profits
 

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