Midweek Natural Gas Forecast – May 6, 2015

It is hard to deny the strength of the natural gas price rally over the past two weeks. Last week’s bullish engulfing line, April’s bullish hammer and morning star setup, and bullish daily divergences on the KasePO, KaseCD, MACD, RSI, and Stochastic are all technical evidence that the move down may finally be complete. However, many traders are skeptical of the move up and are asking what fundamental factors would support a recovery over the course of the longer-term. It is a fair and accurate question. Tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update should provide a strong clue regarding the potential strength of a continued natural gas price rise.

In addition to the aforementioned bullish technical factors on the monthly, weekly, and daily charts, the short term technical factors and wave formations show evidence for a move to at least $2.93. This is a decision point because it is the 2.764 (XC – shown in red) projection for the wave up from $2.481, the 1.00 (E – shown in pink) from $2.557, and the 1.618 (L – shown in purple) from $2.747. In addition, $2.93 is the last level protecting mid-March’s $2.982 swing high. A sustained close over this would open the way for an extended move to targets above $3.00. However, $2.93 will not likely be tested until after tomorrow’s EIA report, if at all, because most traders are waiting for confirmation from another lower than expected build.

natural gas prices

There is good reason to be suspicious of this move up, and a disappointing EIA report tomorrow could be the catalyst to turn prices lower again in very short order. Therefore, until there is a sustained close over $2.93 caution is warranted.

The daily chart has formed a hanging man and evening star setup as of this mid-day analysis, and a close below Monday’s $2.78 midpoint would complete the pattern. This would then open the way for $2.65, the 50 percent retracement of the move up and last week’s midpoint. A close below $2.65 would confirm the move up is over and most likely point toward the market settling into a trading range while it sorts itself out.

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Brent crude oil prices will likely test a key decision point at $68.0 this week. This is the 1.00 projection for the wave up from $50.1, and a confluent projection for the sub-waves up from $53.63. A close over $68.0 would confirm that a long-term bullish recovery is underway. Narrowing calendar spreads support the move up, but are still wide by historic standards. First class long permissions (blue dots) on the KEES indicator also confirm the positive tone.

That said, momentum is waning on the KaseCD and is setup for a bearish divergence (higher high in price with lower high in momentum). The KasePO is quickly nearing overbought territory. There are also a daily bearish hanging man and evening star setup. These and a few other negative factors tell us that Brent will likely stall at $68.0. We expect to see a significant correction take place to test the mettle of the market before the move up extends much higher than $68.0.

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Brent Crude

June WTI crude oil has oscillated in the range of a broadening wedge over the last eight trading days. The pattern is bullish, but the euphoria of WTI’s recent price surge is waning. Mixed technical and fundamental factors indicate the pattern will fail if the $58.41 swing high is not overcome soon.

Key technical support for the near term is $55.3 because it is the 1.00 target for the wave down from $58.82, and intersects with the lower trend line of the expanding wedge. This wave stalled at its 0.618 projection of $56.5, so the market is sitting on the teetering edge of a decline to $55.3 or push higher to overcome $58.41. A close over $58.41 would confirm a break higher out of the wedge and would open the way for an extended upward correction. A move below $56.5 would open the way for $55.3 to be challenged. Overall, odds are still slightly in favor of the move up and a break higher out of the wedge, but a close below $55.3 would indicate the pattern has failed.

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WTI Crude Oil

Natural gas futures nearly filled Monday’s gap down from $2.625. This is crucial resistance because it is near the 38 percent retracement from $2.949 and the confirmation point of April 15th’s morning star. A close over $2.625 would call for the upward correction to extend and challenge key resistance at $2.77. We still think resistance will hold, and a move below the $2.533 swing low will shift odds strongly back in favor of challenging the $2.475 low again.

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natural gas forecast

May natural gas futures stalled at $2.475 after meeting the 0.618 target for the wave $2.949 – 2.583 – 2.719. A close over $2.576 will complete the bullish morning star and a close over $2.624 would confirm it. In addition, the confirmed bullish KaseCD divergence and second class long KEES permissions indicate the upward correction should extend. A normal correction will hold the 38 percent retracement from $2.949 at $2.66. An extended correction is expected to hold $2.77, the 62 percent retracement.

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natural gas prices

From day-to-day natural gas prices are oscillating back and forth on short term speculation and headlines. At one moment we read that the weather forecast is cooler than normal for the next few weeks and then a headline says the forecast is normal. In addition, rig counts are down, but the rate at which they are declining is leveling off. Storage levels are high, and government data shows that production is on pace to increase by five percent this year. The point is that it is hard to get a handle on the fundamental factors right now, and that is fairly typical for this time of year in the shoulder months between the break of the winter heating season and summer cooling demand. However, during this time the technical analysis factors can tell us a lot about how events may unfold, especially for the near term.

The natural gas forecast looks weak ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update. Prices are falling again after last Thursday’s four percent gain ahead of the long weekend. Thursday’s move formed a daily bullish and engulfing line, weekly bullish piercing pattern, and confirmed a daily divergence on the KasePO. However, the inability to follow through this week, and the potential for a close below Thursday’s $2.657 midpoint today, does not bode well for an extended upward correction before new contract lows are made.

As it stands, the wave formation down from $2.949 calls for $2.49 once natural gas prices close below the $2.56 target. A close below $2.56 and decline to $2.49 and lower is the most likely scenario that will unfold, unless there is another bullish shock from this week’s EIA report.

Natural Gas Prices

Overall, most factors for the short term are negative. Momentum on the KasePO is declining, and a new swing low below $2.583 would negate the bullish divergence. The KaseCD is also declining, but is setup for a mini-divergence between the $2.633 and $2.613 swing lows, so caution is warranted. The KEES indicator is showing strong first class short permissions (magenta dots) on the 240-minute Kase Bar chart, and a short trade was triggered this morning when the red S formed.

A close below last Thursday’s $2.657 midpoint would certainly increase the odds of a decline to $2.56 tomorrow. However, a move back above this at the end of the day today would increase the uncertainty of a continued decline and could open the way for $2.72 to be challenged again. This is the key resistance level for the near term, and a move above this would call for an extended correction. This is a less likely scenario, but is not unlikely.

To conclude, the market knows what its support and resistance levels are and the near term direction will be decided by a close beyond these levels. A close below $2.56 will call for at least $2.49. Conversely, a move back above $2.657 would call for another test of major resistance at $2.72.

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Natural gas had been supported by late winter weather in regions of the U.S. through late last week. However, as expected, natural gas prices finally broke lower out of the large scale corrective pattern that formed during the calendar month of March. The move down is poised to continue, but in the very short term, there may be a small pullback first.

The May futures contract broke out of another small bearish flag this morning on the 240-minute equivalent Kase Bar chart and fell to a new contract low of $2.583. This is an important area of support, and a potential short term stalling point because May’s $2.583 low is in line with the 1.00 target for the move down from $2.949 (as shown in the chart above), and is also near the continuation chart’s swing lows of $2.567 and $2.578. In addition, a bullish KasePO divergence (green trend line) was confirmed this morning.

Natural Gas Prices

All of these factors are positive for the very short term. They indicate that a pullback may take place ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update. However, the longer-term technical and fundamental factors indicate resistance should hold and that the move down will extend. Once natural gas prices have definitively broken support between $2.57 and $2.60, look for $2.51 and $2.46, the latter of which is also the 0.618 projection of the compound wave $2.949 – 2.608 – 2.686.

Look for resistance at $2.65 to hold. This is the 21 percent retracement of the decline from $2.949 and is near the lower trend line of the small bearish flag that broke lower this morning. Even a pullback to $2.72, which is the 38 percent retracement, would be considered a normal correction. A close over $2.72 is doubtful without a bullish surprise from external factors.


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Natural gas prices are still oscillating in the upward sloping range that began March 3 when the $2.641 swing low was made. The lower trend line of the formation, which connects back to the $2.589 contract low, was tested, but held again on Monday. Most pundits indicate the long-term fundamentals are bearish, but this begs the questions, why hasn’t the market broken lower yet? This is one of many areas that technical analysis can help answer that question and give us a good idea of where the market will go once it breaks out of this range.

The chart below tells us everything we need to know about the outlook for natural gas in the near term, and can give us an idea about the longer-term outlook too. This is a very short-term analysis, so we will focus on those factors. Technical factors are showing that the market does agree with the bearish fundamentals, and that a break lower should take place soon, but that there are still enough positive factors like late winter weather in the Northeast to support prices for now.

Natural Gas Forecast

The range that has formed over the past few weeks is an expanding wedge (shown in green), and a break out of this pattern will solidify direction for natural gas prices. The break out points for the pattern at $2.69 and $2.94 are in line with the 0.618 projections for the wave up from $2.589 (show in in red) and down from $3.045 (shown in blue). The confluence of these points tells us that a close below $2.69 would open the way for the 1.00 projection of $2.53, and a close over $2.94 would call for an extended correction to $3.10.

The expanding wedge and the Fibonacci wave projections give us a solid forecast once the market breaks out of the wedge. The wedge is a corrective pattern, and because the market entered the pattern after declining from $3.045, a break lower out of the wedge is favored. The negative bias is also confirmed by the KaseX’s most recent yellow and pink down triangles.

In summary, the near-term outlook is negative and a bearish U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update tomorrow would likely be the catalyst to achieve the expected break lower out of the expanding wedge. A close below $2.69 will confirm the break lower and call for at least $2.53. Conversely, a close over $2.94 would call for an extended correction to $3.10.

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WTI crude oil rose for a second straight day due to the declining dollar. The long-term bias is still negative, so the move up is corrective. However, mixed fundamental and technical factors indicate the correction should extend to at least $48.2 before settling into another trading range. This is the 1.00 projection for the wave up from $44.03 and the 38 percent retracement of the decline from $54.0. A close over $48.2 would call for $50.4, the 1.618 projection and the 62 percent retracement. Look for immediate support at the $45.33 and $44.77 swing lows.

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WTI Crude Oil

NY Harbor ULSD futures fell to a new intraday low for the eighth session in a row, but formed a bullish morning star setup and hammer. These are bullish reversal formations, but in this case it is more likely that a subsequent move up will be a correction rather than a reversal. In addition, the decline stalled near the 62 percent retracement of the move up from 154.8 to 197.86, which supports the likelihood of a correction. However, the KasePO and KaseCD show that the decline should ultimately continue. Look for resistance at 178.7 and no higher than 186.0 to hold.

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ULSD futures