U.S. markets close in 6 hours 15 minutes
  • S&P 500

    3,921.20
    -4.23 (-0.11%)
     
  • Dow 30

    31,957.97
    -3.89 (-0.01%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,580.01
    -17.95 (-0.13%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,281.07
    -3.31 (-0.14%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    62.81
    -0.41 (-0.65%)
     
  • Gold

    1,785.10
    -12.80 (-0.71%)
     
  • Silver

    28.01
    +0.08 (+0.29%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.2241
    +0.0073 (+0.60%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.4460
    +0.0570 (+4.10%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.4178
    +0.0036 (+0.26%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    106.0600
    +0.1780 (+0.17%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    51,106.18
    +1,622.50 (+3.28%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,023.62
    +28.96 (+2.91%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,675.42
    +16.45 (+0.25%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    30,168.27
    +496.57 (+1.67%)
     

Natural Gas Gains 4.2% for the Week: What's Behind the Rise?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Nilanjan Choudhury
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed the season’s first triple-digit withdrawal from natural gas storage. While the draw was not as big as expected, favorable weather predictions and record liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) feedgas deliveries meant that the U.S. benchmark finished the week up more than 4%.   

Let us see how the natural gas situation looks like after the U.S. Energy Department's latest weekly inventory release

EIA Reports a Withdrawal Lower Than Market Expectations

Stockpiles held in underground storage in the lower 48 states fell by 122 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ended Dec 11 compared to the guidance (of a 127 Bcf decline). However, the decrease was above the five-year (2015-2019) average net shrinkage of 105 Bcf and last year’s drop of 97 Bcf for the reported week.

The latest official data puts total natural gas stocks at 3.726 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) — 284 Bcf (8.3%) above the 2019 levels at this time and 243 Bcf (7%) higher than the five-year average.

Total supply of natural gas averaged 95.7 Bcf per day, essentially unchanged on a weekly basis as higher dry production was offset by lower shipments from Canada.

Daily consumption — at 112.2 Bcf — remained flat too, with an increase in residential/commercial gas usage offset by a dip in power demand.  

Natural Gas Price Gains Despite the Below-Consensus Inventory Pull

Natural gas prices rose last week despite the lower-than-expected inventory draw. Futures for January delivery ended Friday at $2.70 per MMBtu on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 4.2% from the same time previous week. The increase in the price of natural gas (despite the smaller-than-anticipated inventory draw) is the result of the ongoing strength in LNG demand and forecast models, indicating severe cold in the Christmas week, which translates into larger draws due to increased use of heaters.

Wrap Up

As is the norm with natural gas, changes in temperature and weather forecasts can lead to price swings. With the latest models showing bullish changes toward a chiller outlook, prices are expected to trend higher. But with stockpiles still bloated, downside risks would continue to outweigh the upside potential unless the weather pattern flips significantly to colder for natural gas usage to rise. While growing LNG exports and lower production are providing some support for a price recovery, it will be the magnitude of the cold across the United States that will dictate the energy commodity’s future.   

The lingering uncertainty over the heating fuel means that most natural gas-focused companies carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). As a result, investors should preferably wait for a better entry point before buying shares in EQT Corporation EQT, SilverBow Resources SBOW, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation COG, CNX Resources CNX, Southwestern Energy Company SWN etc. Others like Comstock Resources CRK and Range Resources RRC are further down the pecking order, with a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential

The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $775 billion by 2024 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases.

Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Our recent biotech recommendations have produced gains of +50%, +83% and +164% in as little as 2 months. The stocks in this report could perform even better.

See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Comstock Resources, Inc. (CRK) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
EQT Corporation (EQT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CNX Resources Corporation. (CNX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Range Resources Corporation (RRC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SilverBow Resources Inc. (SBOW) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research