Saturday, February 6, 2010

WSJ commodities headlines continue to tell us when it's cold outside

As I discussed in a prior post, whatever the natural gas market is the other nine months of the year, during the winter it's an inverse thermometer for the Eastern seaboard. Take a look at these natural gas headlines for the last month from the Wall Street Journal:
Couple things to notice here, the first is that the 1/23 headline was modified from its original incarnation "Cold Forecasts Warm Up Natural Gas Prices" sometime between when I wrote my prior post and now. In fact, you can still see that headline as the page's title. So it's good to see that someone over there is insisting on slightly more variety of diction, even if the changes are occurring four or five days late.
The second, and more important thing to notice, are the functionally opposite headlines occurring 24 hours apart on 2/1 and 2/2. Anyone at all (say, for example, a professional commodities analyst) could point to at least TWO prior headlines that month and say that the news of EITHER 2/1 or 2/2 supports her model of rising OR declining gas prices. The volatility of these markets, especially when the weather is your primary driver, makes every session a significant one.
*In the print version of the 2/1 article, there was also a B-Roll shot of some dudes playing football in Washington DC with the caption:
"ICING THE KICKER? Unusually warm weather was a boon for football players in Washington in November; not so for those betting on gas."
Awesome. That picture really helps me get a better understanding of the natural gas situation. You couldn't have put a chart there or something? (NB: Yes I appreciate the irony of making fun of a superfluous picture, and then not showing said picture myself while discussing it, but seems not be hosting it. Apologies.)

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