This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Crude Hits 2010 High; Natural Gas Tops $4

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Natural gas storage levels rose last week but by less than analysts had anticipated, which turned natural gas futures positive Thursday and lifted the May contract by nearly 6%.

The Energy Information Administration said natural gas storage levels rose by 12 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 26, coming in lower than the expected range of 14 billion to 18 billion cubic feet, according to analysts polled by Platts.

Natural gas futures began the last trading session of the shortened week in the red, but quickly turned positive on news of the milder-than-expected increase. After slumping as low as $3.81 per million British thermal units, the May natural gas soared to $4.16 before settling up by 22 cents, or 5.6%, at $4.09 per million British thermal units.

As natural gas prices strengthened, so did shares of natural gas producers. Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Devon Energy (DVN), EOG Resources (EOG), and Anadarko Petroleum (APC) all ended more than 2% higher. Gastar Exploration (GST) soared 4.9%, to $5.10.

Energy was one of the session's strongest performing sectors on a day that saw equities making broad gains on encouraging macroeconomic news.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 439,000, which was in line with the 440,000 claims that economists had been expecting and made investors more confident that Friday's March nonfarm payrolls report would show growth of at least 190,000 jobs.

Robust manufacturing data from across the globe was particularly bullish for potential energy demand. In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for March came in at a better-than-expected level of 59.6, representing the fastest growth rate for the manufacturing sector since July 2004.

Chinese and eurozone manufacturing picked up last month, according to economic data out Thursday morning, and in Japan business confidence rose for the fourth consecutive quarter.

A weaker U.S. dollar also made dollar-priced commodities more attractive to foreign buyers, and crude oil surged to an 18-month high. The May crude contract hit a high of $85.22 a barrel before settling $1.11 higher, or up by 1.3%, at $84.87 a barrel.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.4%.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,079.57 -42.44 -0.25%
S&P 500 1,996.74 -3.38 -0.17%
NASDAQ 4,557.6950 -11.9260 -0.26%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs