UPDATE 1-U.S. natgas futures edge lower for second straight day

Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:47am EDT
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* Front month well above recent three-month spot low
    * Nuclear power plant outages 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 United States
 in the coming weeks, most traders expect the downside to be
    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 9:43 a.m. EDT (1343 GMT), front-month July natural gas
futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were at
$3.847 per million British thermal units, down 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
    In the cash market, gas for weekend delivery at the NYMEX
benchmark, Henry Hub in Louisiana, was heard down 6
cents at $3.84. Early deals were done at 1 cent under the
front-month contract, even with deals done late Thursday.
    Gas on the Transco pipeline at the New York citygate was heard up 1 cent on the day at $3.90.
    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
country 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