August natural gas futures contracts trading in NYMEX rose for the third day. Gas prices are trading just below the important resistance level of $2.90 per MMBtu (British thermal units in millions). Natural gas prices have been fluctuating in a narrow range of $2.70–$2.90 per MMBtu for almost one month. The estimates of warmer weather are influencing natural gas prices.
The surging demand from electric power plants and warmer weather could drive natural gas prices. The next resistance for natural gas prices is seen at $3 per MMBtu. Prices hit this mark in May 2015. In contrast, bearish sentiments could push natural gas prices to the key support of $2.50 per MMBtu. Prices hit this mark in April 2015. Record inventories and mild weather could drag natural gas prices lower.
The uptrending channel suggests that gas prices could fluctuate between $2.50 MMBtu and $3 MMBtu. Industry surveys suggest that natural gas prices could average around $3.25 per MMBtu in 2H15.
The performance of ETFs like the VelocityShares 3X Long Natural Gas ETN (UGAZ) and the United States Natural Gas Fund LP (UNG) benefit from rising natural gas prices. Rising gas prices also benefit gas producers like Rex Energy (REXX), QEP Resources (QEP), and Contango (MCF). Combined, they account for 2.93% of the Spider Oil and Gas ETF (XOP). These stocks have a natural gas production mix that’s more than 59% of their production portfolio.