- Profit taking sent natural gas futures edging lower on Friday after investors locked in gains from Thursday''s bullish supply report and sold the commodity for profits.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at $4.449 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, down 0.48%. The commodity hit session high of $4.476 and a low of $4.405.

The May contract settled up 2.43% on Thursday to end at $4.470 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.222 per million British thermal units, Wednesday''s low, and resistance at $4.482, Thursday''s high.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 28 fell by 74 billion cubic feet, in line with forecasts, which sent natural gas prices climbing to levels ripe for profit taking on Friday.

The five-year average change for the week is a drop of 8 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 822 billion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2003.

Stocks were 878 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 992 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.814 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 448 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 46 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 410 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 762 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 24 billion cubic feet.

Investors continued to track weather forecasts, as moderate springtime temperatures typical of this time of year suppress demand for heating.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were up 1.11% and trading at $101.40 a barrel, while heating oil for May delivery were up 0.31% and trading at $2.9153 per gallon.

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