Summer's last stand stokes gas prices

Natural gas futures climbed to a six-week high in New York as hot weather heading into September stoked demand for the power-plant fuel.

Above-normal temperatures will sweep from Texas to the Northeast through Sept. 10, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Gas stockpiles last week probably rose by more than the five-year average for the 19th straight week, according to the median of 24 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are getting a little bit of a weather spike for support,” said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York. “We’ve got a multiweek high; this is progress as far as the bulls are concerned. The market was settling into a range and we could break to the upside.”

Natural gas for October delivery rose 3.8 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.041 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 9:11 a.m. after climbing to $4.048, the highest intraday price since July 17. Volume for all futures traded was 40 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are up 13 percent from a year ago.

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