Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World of Business

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World of Business

Article excerpt

NATURAL GAS PRICES DIVE ON MILD WEATHER FORECASTS

Natural gas futures plummeted 14 percent yesterday on signs Americans will get at least a temporary reprieve from the arctic cold that socked much of the nation in December and sent heating demand soaring.

Forecasts for a warming trend in the Midwest and Northeast eased concerns that natural-gas supplies might run out if the unusually cold weather persisted all winter.

But consumers who are being hit by drastically higher energy bills this winter have little cause for celebration yet.

The futures price, on which retail prices are based, remains nearly four times what it was a year ago. And the National Weather Service is still calling for below-normal temperatures in the northern United States for January through March.

"The longer-term outlook still looks scary in terms of supply," said Tim Evans, senior energy analyst for IFR Pegasus in New York. "I'm reluctant to say we've seen the worst of it."

The decline was the biggest one-day drop in the 11 years that natural gas futures have been traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas for February delivery fell $1.41 to $8.36 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Natural gas hit its latest all-time high of $10.10 last Wednesday.

DISNEY ATTORNEYS TO TALK SETTLEMENT

Disney lawyers will discuss a settlement with attorneys for two businessmen who won a $240 million verdict against the company after convincing jurors that Disney stole their idea for a sports complex that is now the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.

Disney lawyers plan mediation talks tomorrow in the Stuart offices of attorney Willie Gary, who with Johnnie Cochran Jr. represented Nicholas Stracick and Edward Russell.

The Disney legal team will be led by general counsel Louis Meisinger, who is based at the company's Burbank, Calif. …

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