Futures Trading Outlook: Natural Gas Futures Below 50-day Moving Average

By NinjaTrader Team


In this week’s coverage, we analyze the bullish trend in E-mini S&P 500 Index futures, the break down in natural gas futures, and the consolidating trend in the British pound and gold futures. We also examine the economic reports and earnings announcements expected next week.

Please Note: 
Commentary and charts reflect data at the time of writing. Market conditions are subject to change and may not reflect all market activity.


March E-Mini S&P 500 Index Futures Daily Chart

March E-mini S&P 500 Index futures rallied into the end of the week, taking out the March 2022 high of 4863.25. Last week saw E-mini S&P futures break above the 61.8% Fibonacci extension level, found by measuring the previous uptrend from October 2022 to July 2023, and applying it to the low of this past October. The MACD is showing signs of a possible cross above its signal line, which would reinforce the current rally. The RSI, while trending towards an overbought level of 70, does show some signs of divergence, with lower peak highs (compared to the higher peak highs in the price). Should this rally continue, possible resistance could occur at the 76.4% Fib extension level (~4,955). A break down could see support at the 50-day moving average (~4,700) and further down at the 38.2% Fib extension level (~4,565).

E-mini S&P 500 Index futures

February Natural Gas Futures Daily Chart

Last week, February natural gas futures failed to stay above the 200-day moving average, pulling all the way back below the 50-day moving average, finishing below the Ichimoku cloud on the week. Friday’s trading saw a break below the 61.8 Fibonacci retracement level of the uptrend that began in mid-December and ended two weeks ago. The MACD indicated a bearish trend with its cross below the signal line. RSI went from overbought (above 70) to low 40s last week, also indicating a bearish trend. Should the downtrend continue, support might be found at the 76.4% Fib retracement level (2.409) and further at the December low (2.105). A rally could find resistance at the 50-day moving average (~2.710) and the 50% Fib level (2.749).

Natural gas futures

March British Pound Futures Daily Chart

March British pound futures enjoyed an end of week rally, regaining about half of the weeks downtrend that started in the short Monday session. The rally began when the pound found support at the 50-day moving average, which coincided with the 50% retracement level of the downtrend that began in July last year and culminated in early October. Price is still above the 50-day moving average, 200-day moving average and the Ichimoku cloud, indicating bullishness for the pound. The MACD has been indicating some signs of stagnation as the MACD line itself is positive, but the histogram is ever so slightly negative. RSI could be indicating some bearish divergence, as it has been trending down while price is slowly trending up. A continuation of this rally could see resistance at the 61.8% Fib level (1.2735) and the recent high made at the end of last year (1.2833). A return to the downtrend could see support at the 200-day moving average and top of the Ichimoku cloud (~1.2550), and further support at the 38.2% Fib level (1.2473).

British pound futures

March Gold Futures Daily Chart

March gold futures fell below the 50-day moving average last week and with the 200-day moving average acting as support, it remains stuck in the Ichimoku cloud. Two strong down days brought gold near the 50% Fibonacci retracement level, as defined by the move from the low in October to the high in early January. The MACD, though it has been indicating sideways action since November, is poised to cross its signal line and the zero line, which are both bullish indications. The RSI near 50 indicates a sideways market. Should the rally continue, resistance might be found at the top of the Ichimoku cloud (~2062) and at the 23.6% fib level (~2080). A return to the downtrend could see support at the 200-day moving average (~2010) and the bottom of the Ichimoku cloud (~1998). Further support might be found at the 61.8% Fib level (1962).

Gold futures

Companies Reporting Earnings January 22 – January 26

Earnings season begins to take fuller shape as we hear from companies in the airlines, communications, tech and healthcare sectors, as well as almost one-third of the Dow Jones Index companies. Four of the Dow stocks (Verizon, 3M, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble) report earnings before market open on Tuesday, Three report on Tuesday (Dow Chemical in the morning, Visa and Intel in the afternoon). IBM reports on Wednesday afternoon, and American Express’ earnings arrive Friday morning.

Watch for volatility in Dow Jones futures (YM, MYM) around these events. Airline companies reporting this week, include: American, Alaska Southwest and United – it will be interesting to see if recent mechanical troubles for some of these companies will influence the statement and Q&A on the earnings calls. Speaking of earnings calls, energy traders should pay attention to Baker Hughes’ call on Tuesday afternoon, as their opinion on the 2024-25 outlook could include supply/demand information.

Date Companies Earnings
Monday, January 22 United Airlines (UAL): $1.61 EPS Estimate, $13.55B Revenue Estimate (AMC)
Tuesday, January 23 Verizon Communications (VZ): $1.07 EPS Estimate, $31.51B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
3M Company (MMM): $2.31 EPS Estimate, $7.02B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
General Electric Co. (GE): $0.90 EPS Estimate, $17.38B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): $2.27 EPS Estimate, $20.99B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT): $7.26 EPS Estimate, $16.36B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Procter & Gamble Co. (MMM): $1.71 EPS Estimate, $21.68B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): $2.20 EPS Estimate, $8.71B Revenue Estimate (AMC)
Baker Hughes (BKR): $0.47 EPS Estimate, $6.91B Revenue Estimate (AMC)
Wednesday, January 24 AT&T Corp. (T): $0.55 EPS Estimate, $28.68B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Abbott (ABT): $1.19 EPS Estimate, $10.17B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): $0.74 EPS Estimate, $23.17B Revenue Estimate (AMC)
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM): $3.75 EPS Estimate, $15.70B Revenue Estimate (AMC) *
Thursday, January 25 American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL): $0.06 EPS Estimate, $13.02B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): $0.17 EPS Estimate, $2.55B Revenue Estimate (BMO) 
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV): $0.11 EPS Estimate, $6.74B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Dow Chemical Co. (DOW): $0.41 EPS Estimate, $10.31B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
Humana Inc. (HUM): $2.13 EPS Estimate, $25.31B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO): $3.03 EPS Estimate, $36.51B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA): $0.80 EPS Estimate, $30.50B Revenue Estimate (BMO)
Intel Corp. (INTC): $0.48 EPS Estimate, $13.81B Revenue Estimate (AMC) *
Visa Inc. (V): $2.33 EPS Estimate, $7.78B Revenue Estimate (AMC) *
T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS): $1.90 EPS Estimate, $19.63B Revenue Estimate (AMC)
Friday, January 26 American Express Co. (AXP): $2.64 EPS Estimate, $16.03B Revenue Estimate (BMO) *
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL): $0.85 EPS Estimate, $4.88B Revenue Estimate (BMO)

* indicates that this company is in the Dow Jones Index

Economic Reports for the week of January 22 – January 26

While this looks like a relatively light news week, don’t discount Thursday, specifically, Thursday morning at 8:30 ET. In addition to the regular Jobless Claims report (expected to remain under 200k), the first pass at Q4 quarter GDP drops then, along with Wholesale and Retail Inventories, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, Durable Goods Orders, International Trade in Goods and the Usual Export Sales. 

While forecasts expect 2% for GDP, Atlanta’s GDPNow is showing 2.4%. So, a possible surprise could be market-moving. New Home Sales at 10 AM and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11 AM could provide more volatility to the markets. Also, the weekly EIA Petroleum report at 10:30 AM ET could move the crude oil futures market. Personal income and outlays on Friday morning is a measure of inflation that could influence the FOMC decision the following week. Note that the silent period for Fed speakers began on Saturday January 20, and will last up until the FOMC meeting on January 31.

Date Economic Reports
Monday, January 22 10:00 AM ET: Leading Indicators *
11:00 AM ET: Export Inspections
Tuesday, January 23 10:00 AM ET: Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index *
1:00 PM ET: Money Supply *
4:30 PM ET: API Weekly Oil Stocks
Wednesday, January 24  7:00 AM ET: MBA Mortgage Applications
9:45 AM ET: PMI Composite Flash *
10:30 AM ET: EIA Petroleum Status Report ***
11:00 AM ET: Survey of Business Uncertainty
3:00 PM ET: Cold Storage
Thursday, January 25 8:30 AM ET: Jobless Claims ***
8:30 AM ET: International Trade in Goods (Advance)
8:30 AM ET: GDP ***
8:30 AM ET: Chicago Fed National Activity Index
8:30 AM ET: Wholesale Inventories (Advance)
8:30 AM ET: Retail Inventories (Advance)
8:30 AM ET: Durable Goods Orders
8:30 AM ET: Export Sales
10:00 AM ET: New Home Sales
10:30 AM ET: EIA Natural Gas Report
11:00 AM ET: Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index
4:30 PM ET: Fed Balance Sheet
Friday, January 26 8:30 AM ET: Personal Income and Outlays ***
10:00 AM ET: Pending Home Sales Index
1:00 PM ET: Baker Hughes Rig Count

*** Market Moving Indicators
* Merit Extra Attention

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