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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Natural gas futures were holding onto gains after hitting a one-month high on a lower-than-expected rise in inventory level.

June natural gas contracts were rising 3.2% to $4.548 per million British thermal units after hitting a one-month high at $4.559.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that natural gas storage levels rose 31 billion cubic feet (Bcf) to 1,685 Bcf as of Friday, April 22, from the week before. On average, analysts were expecting a 35 bcf injection.

Stocks were 215 Bcf less than the same time last year and 11 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,696 Bcf.

In the East Region of underground natural gas storage operators, stocks were 94 Bcf below the five-year average, following net injections of 14 Bcf.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 119 Bcf above the five-year average of 674 Bcf after a net injection of 13 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 36 Bcf below the five-year average after a net addition of 4 Bcf.

Natural gas plays were trading in mixed territory.

United States Natural Gas Fund

(UNG) - Get Free Report

was popping 2.4% to $11.65,

Kinder Morgan

(KMI) - Get Free Report

was up 0.1% at $28.90 and

Chesapeake Energy

(CHK) - Get Free Report

was down 0.2% to $33.05.

SM Energy

(SM) - Get Free Report

was up 0.1% to $75.22,

Energy Transfer Partners


was flat at $54.60,

Royal Dutch Shell


was rising 0.5% to $77.25 and


(COP) - Get Free Report

was losing 3.2% to $77.28.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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