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It’s Time To Get Back Into Natural Gas

On October 18th, I wrote a piece here suggesting buying natural gas futures (NG) at around $2.35. That was based on a major technical signal known as a golden cross, where the 50-day moving average crossed over the 100-day. That worked out well as, after a short dip that didn’t reach the proposed stop level, NG climbed, hitting $2.90 a few weeks later before turning again. The idea was to institute a fairly tight trailing stop on a break of $2.40 and if you did that, it was a good trade. You would be out by now though, and I have left the subject alone during the retracement…until now.

As I said, the trigger for that trade was the crossover, but it was also backed up by some fundamental factors, most notably being a leveling off of U.S. production of natural gas. It is not that output isn’t high, it’s just that the rate of growth has slowed. That was almost inevitable. As cheap and accessible as natural gas has become, a sustained period of low prices had to have an effect at some point. The depth of the impact was illustrated this week when Chevron (CVX) announced that it was taking a $10 billion charge in their Q4 earnings related to writing off some natural gas assets.

That was seen as bad news initially by the futures market, but interestingly, prices recovered quickly and are now above their level at the time that announcement came. The bounce-back makes more sense than the drop and can be expected to continue. CVX was the first big company to dial…

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