UPDATE 3-U.S. natgas futures end up for fourth day, hit six-week high on cold
* Below-normal temperatures on tap for most of nation
* Record production, comfortable storage should limit gains
* Coming Up: EIA natgas storage data on Wednesday (Updates prices to settlement, adds analyst quote)
NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures extended gains for a fourth straight session on Monday, lifted early to a six-week spot chart high amid forecasts for continued cold weather through at least early December.
Private forecaster MDA Weather Services called for cold and "wintry" weather in the East in its one- to five-day forecast, with continued cold in both its six- to 10-day and 11- to 15-day outlooks.
The National Weather Service's latest eight- to 14-day outlook issued on Sunday called for below-normal readings for nearly the entire nation, with some above-normal temperatures only in the Southwest.
"The soon-to-expire December contract is hovering around the upper resistance level of $3.80 per million British thermal units, while the January contract is now trading slightly above this level and in a higher trading range that could eventually result in a test of the $4 level if the weather remains seasonably cold," said Energy Management Institute partner Dominick Chirchella.
But despite the cold, traders said record-high production, low nuclear power plant outages and comfortable inventories may help curb more gains.
Front-month December natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which expire on Tuesday, rose 2.1 cents to settle at $3.789 per million British thermal units. The contract traded between $3.753 and $3.849, the highest mark for a front-month contract since mid-October.
Other months ended higher as well, with the January contract gaining 3.1 cents to end at $3.842 and spring months up about 4 cents each.
In the cash market, gas for Tuesday delivery at the NYMEX benchmark, Henry Hub GT-HH-IDX in Louisiana, rose 8 cents to $3.85. Late deals also firmed to 7 cents over the front month contract, compared with those done early Friday at a 2-cent premium.
Gas on the Transco pipeline at the New York citygate E-TSCO6NY-IDX, however, slid more than $1 to $4.08, while Chicago gas MC-CHICIT-IDX was up 17 cents at $4.06.
Last week's gas storage report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed total domestic inventories fell in the prior week by 45 billion cubic feet to 3.789 trillion cubic feet, about 2 percent below last year's levels and less than 1 percent above the five-year average.
Early withdrawal estimates for this week's storage report range from 1 bcf to 20 bcf, compared with a year-ago draw of 2 bcf and a five-year average decline of 15 bcf for that week.
This week's EIA storage report will be issued one day earlier than usual, on Wednesday at noon EST due to the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday.
Data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission showed about 8,900 megawatts, or 9 percent of U.S. capacity, was offline, down from 22,500 MW out a year ago and a five-year average outage rate of 13,200 MW.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said no tropical cyclone formation was expected for the next five days. The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30. (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Chizu Nomiyama, Marguerita Choy and Meredith Mazzilli)
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