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Fast Money’s Joe Terranova Says Nat Gas June Highs July Lows?

Coming into July, we were riding the Natural Gas high like we had a straight shot to the moon, especially off big shale announcements like Chesapeake (CHK)’s Haynesville Shale venture. Sure, nothing goes vertical forever and we all knew natural gas would have to “correct” for a while. However, for us at-home mom-and-pop non-commodities traders, a lot of the time it felt like we’re just riding this straight shot to the moon blind.

Thankfully, veteran commodity trader Joe Terranova on CNBC’s Fast Money had a simple rule of thumb to offer: June Highs, July Lows. Does it always work? Of course not! Market’s aren’t that easy! But I did a little check and found this rule of thumb is a good one any of us with natural gas exposure to keep close to heart. I used charts from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Natural Gas Market info- one of my favorite research tools I’ve collected at my SuckingLess.com website.

FERC Natural Gas Market Overview - Daily Henry Hub Spot Prices 2002-2008

As you can see, other than the out-of-norm Katrina event in 2005, July natural gas prices have generally been lower than June prices. This weakness seems to persist from July into early or mid august. While natural gas prices in the following December-Januarys are usually higher than the July-August weakness, there are a few years where Natural Gas prices just keep sliding the rest of the year. I suppose Natural Gas prices still depend on the weather and how much of it is used, so it still has that random factor that we should all be aware of.  Personally, I think selling some Natural gas, whether taking partial or full positions off, seems like a smart thing to do given historical trends suggest July will be lower than June. Sure, you might miss another “Katrina” spike, but that feels more like rolling the dice.  Because I didn’t want to be completely out natural gas in case we get the hurricane spike, I’ve kept 25% of my HAL position, but bought USO puts against it.

However, this year, Natural Gas prices have been on a steady climb alongside crude oil’s climb, natural gas looking much less volatile than in the past. Natural gas isn’t a direct replacement of crude oil, but there are various users of energy who can switch between the two. When crude oil gets too expensive, they would switch to natural gas, thus increasing natural gas’s demand and raising it’s prices alongside crude. Jim Cramer offers a separate rule of thumb: Natural Gas prices trade at roughly 1/6 the price of crude oil. So, at the moment, either crude oil is too expensive or natural gas is too cheap

Also, I have offered the analysis of the trend to use much more natural gas for electrical power generation by utilities around the world. This should decrease some of the volatility in natural gas prices as demand becomes more consistent to produce consistent electrical power. Still, we need to do something about our limited storage capacities!

Remember, beyond just owning the companies, dig just slightly deeper into the businesses the companies are in. That’s why I started SuckingLess.com, to collect the most relevant industry magazines and information useful to investors.

SuckinLess.com Research Resources Used:

**Disclosure: I am long of CHK, HAL, and USO puts as of this post**

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