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.
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.
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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During the calendar month of March the April natural gas futures contract has traded in a range bound between $2.64 and $2.87. Most fundamental and technical factors are still negative for the long-term. The move up at this point is still corrective and will only delay the inevitable decline that is ultimately coming. However, late winter weather concerns continue to support the market and have rattled the nerves of traders enough over the past two days to push natural prices above $2.87 to challenge key resistance at $2.89 ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update.
The market is hinting that a bullish EIA update may be expected, but if the number is disappointing, this natural gas price rise will collapse in upon itself and could be the catalyst the finally push prices lower to challenge key support targets.
The wave formations up from $2.589 (not shown), $2.641, $2.662, and $2.674 all show that $2.89 is a confluent wave projection. It is also the 62 percent retracement from $3.045 to $2.641. The confluence of wave projections and retracements at $2.89 make it the key decision point for an extended correction to at least $3.00 and possibly $3.07. At the time of this analysis, natural gas prices are trading right at $2.89, but they will need to settle above this to open the way for $3.00 in early trading tomorrow before the EIA update is released. Unless the EIA report is extremely bullish, it is doubtful that prices will settle above $3.07 in coming days.
Look for support at $2.78. This is in line with the $2.775 swing low, the midpoint of the recent range between $2.64 and $2.87, and the midpoint of the March 12 and 17 candlesticks. A close below $2.78 would indicate the move up has failed to extend once again.
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Natural gas prices are still oscillating in the corrective range between approximately $2.60 and $3.00. Early in the week it looked as though natural gas prices were ready to continue the decline. However, while there is little doubt that the long-term bias is negative, Wednesday’s price rise has called into questions how soon natural gas prices will fall to new contract lows.
Monday’s gap from $2.783 was filled early Wednesday and then April futures overcame the 0.618 projection at $2.80 for the wave up from $2.641. The $2.80 level was also near the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $2.87 to $2.662. The confluence of the wave projection and retracement at $2.80 makes it a crucial decision point for the near term outlook. Should natural gas prices close over $2.80, look for at least $2.89 because it is the 1.00 projection. This level is most important because it is also the 62 percent retracement from $3.045 to $2.641, the 0.618 projection for the wave up from $2.589 (not shown), and is in line with last weeks $2.87 swing high. A close over $2.89 would open the way for an extended correction and would further delay a decline to new contract lows.
The first class long permissions (blue dots) for the Kase Easy Entry System (KEES) indicate the move up will likely continue, and that $2.89 should at least be tested tomorrow. However, the bearish KCDpeak (red K above 2.848) indicates the move up is already overbought on the 120-minute equivalent Kase Bar chart. A move above $2.848 would negate the KCDpeak, and as long as the KEES permissions remain long (blue dots) the near-term bias will remain positive.
Look for support at $2.73. A close below this over the next few days would shift the near-term bias back to negative and call for the $2.641 swing low to be challenged.
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Cold weather continues to support natural gas, but the wide sweeping frigid conditions have not been enough of an influence to drive prices higher. Fundamental and technical factors leave little doubt that the outlook for the next several months is bearish, but for now, natural gas prices are stuck in a trading range bound between approximately $2.55 and $3.00.
Prices fell last week after the disappointing U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update, and a swing low of $2.641 was made on Tuesday. The $2.80 midpoint of last Thursday’s candlestick held Wednesday morning, which may be an early indication that another disappointing EIA update is expected tomorrow. The $2.80 level is confluent resistance because it is also the 38 percent retracement of the decline from $3.045 to $2.641.
There are a few short term positive factors (green arrow and triangle) triggered by KaseX on the $0.05 KaseBar chart, and a close over $2.80 would open the way for key resistance at $2.90. The $2.90 level is the 62 percent retracement from $3.045 and the 0.618 projection for the wave $2.589 – 3.045 – 2.641. This is crucial, because waves that overcome the 0.618 projection typically extend to at least the 1.00 projection, in this case $3.10. We expect $2.90 to hold, but a close over this level would shift near term odds in favor of another attempt at $3.10 and higher.
First support is $2.70, and a move below this would call for the $2.641 swing low and $2.589 contract lows to be challenged. The most important target is still $2.55, because the technical show that it is the gateway objective for a decline into the low $2s. It will likely be at least a few more weeks before prices close below $2.55.
So for now, our analysis leads us to believe that a near term test of resistance at $2.80 and possibly $2.90 will take place, but that $2.90 will hold and prices will continue to oscillate in a sideways range.
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Natural gas’s recent upward correction has been driven by cold weather, and still has a modest chance to extend. However, the key question that should be asked is how long will natural gas prices be able to sustain upward momentum once weather moderates? Several technical factors are already showing that the move up may be over, and that a continued decline may take place sooner than some might have expected.
The move up stalled at $3.045 on Monday morning. From a technical standpoint, this was a bit disappointing because the wave $2.589 – 2.891 – 2.681, which had previously met it 1.00 projection, failed to meet its 1.382 target at $3.098. This was especially negative because Monday’s decline and close below Friday’s $2.91 midpoint triggered a bearish Dark Cloud Cover (marked by the Kase Candles indicator’s pink dot and DarkC label). Dark cloud covers are reversal patterns, and the formation would be confirmed upon a close below Friday’s $2.852 open.
Subsequently, the attempted moves up on Tuesday and Wednesday have failed to close over the $2.94 midpoint of Monday. A close over $2.94 would negate the dark cloud cover, and open the way for another attempt at $3.098 and $3.17, the 1.382 and 1.618 targets for the primary wave up from $2.589, respectively. However, the failure to close over $2.94, so far at least, is negative.
The key for the down move will be a close below $2.85. As previously stated, $2.85 is the confirmation point for the dark cloud cover. It is also the 0.618 projection for the wave $3.045 – 2.839 – 2.974. Therefore, a close below $2.85 would call for at least $2.77. In our detailed weekly price forecast, $2.77 was pegged as the major decision point for a continued decline and retest of the $2.589 contract low. As shown by the blue wave extensions, at minimum, a close below $2.77 should clear the way for the 1.618 projection at $2.64.
Unless there is a shock from tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update, it looks as though the move up has stalled, and that major test of support at $2.77 will take place in the next few days. The near-term outlook for natural gas prices is not yet technically bearish, but a sustained close below $2.77 will help to shift the bias strongly in that direction.
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Natural gas’ decline stalled at $2.567 on February 6. This was near the very crucial bearish decision point of $2.52. Subsequently prices have risen to $2.857. The market is likely settling into a range that is being supported by external factors (i.e. cold weather), but is searching for the upper end of this range.
A confirmed daily morning star and a few weak momentum signals (white arrows) on KaseX indicate the upward correction should extend. However, the correction met and held the 38 percent retracement from $3.299 to $2.567 at $2.85. In addition, KaseX has already generated a short warning (yellow down triangle), and prices are sitting just below the crucial $2.79 level. The $2.79 level has been major support for week, and it is now key resistance. It was tested one and held already on February 3, so a close over this would be positive for the near term.
Overall, the charts and technical factors discussed indicate that traders are anticipating a bullish U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update tomorrow. However, there is some uncertainty to this move, which is why prices backed off the $2.857 swing high morning and are hovering around $2.79.
A close over $2.79 would open the way for $2.85 again, and likely $3.02, which is the 62 percent retracement from $3.299. The $3.02 level should hold unless tomorrow’s EIA number is much more bullish than anticipated. A close below $2.79 would call for $2.68 to be challenged. This is the 62 percent retracement from $2.567 to $2.857. A close below this would then call for another test of the $2.52 decision point.
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For several weeks $2.79 was major support for natural gas. This level was tested many times, and was finally broken after last week’s bearish U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update.
Subsequently, prices have fallen to a $2.608 contract low, and $2.79 has become near-term resistance. The $2.79 level is the completion point for a bullish morning star setup, and was tested on Tuesday when prices rose to $2.783. This level is expected to hold for at least the next few days.
As of this analysis, Wednesday’s decline has setup a pseudo bearish engulfing line. The bearish engulfing line and other technical factors indicate another bearish EIA number may be expected tomorrow.
Trading will likely be extremely choppy over the next few days, but look for $2.79 to hold and for prices to challenge the $2.608 swing low. Ultimately, the decline is expected to extend to the next major target and bearish decision point at $2.52.
Conversely, a close over $2.79 in the next few days would complete the bullish morning star setup and open the way for an extended correction to the $2.852 confirmation point.
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Natural gas has positioned itself for a break out of the recent coiling pattern that began forming on January 20. March futures tested the crucial $2.79 area this morning, and most technical factors still favor continued decline. However, March’s inability to close below $2.79 is making this recent range look more like a short-term bottoming formation versus a corrective pattern. In addition, a bullish KasePO divergence and first class long permissions (blue dots) for the KEES indicator on the 240-minute equivalent Kase Bar chart indicate prices may attempt to rise above $3.01 again after tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update.
The key for a break higher will be a close over $2.97. This is the 0.618 projection for the wave $2.762 – 3.957 – 2.81. March already stalled at this level once, but overcoming $2.97 would open the way for $3.01, which then connects to $3.08 as the 1.382 projection. The $3.08 level is also near the top of the window that took place between January 16 and 20, so a close over this in coming days would be bullish for the near-term outlook.
That said, even though March has held $2.79 on a closing basis thus far, it has not been able to maintain momentum behind any recent price rise. If natural gas cannot break higher this week, the odds of an extended upward correction will quickly diminish. A close below $2.79 would then open the way for the next leg down, where the first target of that move is $2.71.
Last week’s natural gas price rise was poised to fill December 22nd’s gap from $3.48, but the upward correction stalled at $3.352. The week settled above the $3.09 midpoint of Wednesday, January 12th’s candlestick, leading to speculation that the market might try to rise again early this week. However, Monday’s intraday gap down from $3.056 and settle back below $3.00 was negative for the near-term outlook.
There is still major support at $2.80 that has held so far, but after this morning’s move up stalled and failed to fill to $3.056 gap it looks as though a bearish U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update is expected tomorrow.
The key wave for the short-term is $3.352 – 3.024 – 3.228. This wave has already fallen below its 1.00 projection at $2.90 and is poised to meet at least its 1.382 projection at $2.77. This then connects to $2.66 as the 1.618 projection. The $2.66 target is highly confluent for many of the larger and earlier waves down, and is the 0.618 projection for the wave $3.95 – 2.783 – 3.352. The confluence is important because a sustained close below $2.63 would open the way for a decline into the mid-to-low $2’s over the course of the longer-term. Therefore, $2.63 is a potential stalling point for the decline.
The KaseX indicator on the 240-minute equivalent Kase Bar (KBAR) also confirms the negative outlook and has generated several short signals (purple arrows) during the decline from $3.352. The most recent short signal came after the $3.015 swing high this morning. At this point, there are no warning signals that indicate profit should be taken or that short trades should be exited. This will likely change though should prices recover above the $3.015 swing high.
First resistance ahead of the EIA report is $3.06, which is near the top of the $3.056 gap. A move above this would call for 3.15, which is the 0.618 projection for the wave $2.783 – 3.352 – 2.821. The $3.15 level is confirmed as the 62 percent retracement from $3.352 to $2.821. It is also interesting to note that this morning’s rise to $3.015 stalled just below the 38 percent retracement at $3.02. This is another negative factor.
To summarize, the bias is negative, and the move down is expected to continue. There is strong support at $2.80, but a move below this would call for at least $2.77 and very likely $2.66. Resistance at $3.06 will likely hold, but a move above that would open the way for at least $3.15.
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