UPDATE 3-U.S. natgas futures rise for sixth week, near 2-yr high

Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:30pm EST
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By Eileen Houlihan and Julia Edwards

NEW YORK Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures, pressured by some profit taking, slid about 1 percent on Friday, but cold, wintry weather led to a near 6 percent gain for the week, making for a sixth straight weekly rise.

The weekly gain, the biggest in two months, pushed prices to their highest level since May and near the highest in more than two years.

"It has been a pretty volatile week and there is probably a little bit of profit taking going on here, especially since they weren't able to push it through the high of the year," said Addison Armstrong, senior director of market research at Tradition Energy.

"But obviously everybody knows it's cold and everybody knows we're going to have a record or near-record storage report next week," Armstrong added.

Front-month January natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid 5.8 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $4.351 per million British thermal units.

The nearby contract traded as high as $4.443, just one tenth of a cent shy of the high in July 2011.

Some technical traders expected a pullback might be in the offing after the nearly 24 percent run up in the six weeks since Nov. 1, the largest six-week gain in eight months.   Continued...