U.S. natgas futures edge lower for second straight day

Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:30am EDT

* Front month still well above recent three-month spot low
    * Nuclear power plant outages remain below normal
    * Coming up: Baker Hughes gas drilling rig data later Friday

    By Eileen Houlihan
    NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures edged
lower early on Friday, extending losses for a second straight
day on some profit-taking after recent gains and following
another above-average weekly inventory injection on Thursday.
    But with hotter weather on tap for much of the nation in the
coming weeks, most traders expect the downside to be limited
    Others said gas prices might have gotten ahead of themselves
after a 6 percent run-up early this week, especially with
production flowing at or near a record high.
    As of 9:18 a.m. EDT (1318 GMT), front-month July natural gas
futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were at
$3.844 per million British thermal units, down 3.3 cents, after
trading between $3.836 and $3.904.
    The contract hit a nearly two-week high of $3.983 on
Wednesday after dropping to a three-month low of $3.71 last
week.
    The National Weather Service's latest six-to-10-day
forecast, issued on Thursday, called for above-normal
temperatures for a little more than the western half of the
nation and in the Northeast, with normal or below-normal
readings in the Southeast and most of Texas.
    Nuclear plant outages totaled 5,900 megawatts, or just 6
percent of U.S. capacity, down from 6,100 MW out on Thursday,
8,900 MW out a year ago, and a five-year average outage rate of
7,000 MW. 
    Thursday's gas storage report from the U.S. Energy
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