* Moderate extended forecasts still weigh on prices * Front-month hits another six-week low * Coming Up: EIA, Enerdata natgas storage data on Thursday By Joe Silha NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures,shrugging off a brief technical rally after four straight losingsessions, turned down again on Wednesday, as comfortablesupplies and relatively mild weather forecasts for the next weekcontinued to weigh down prices. While technical traders said the market was oversold and duefor a bounce after its recent slide, particularly ahead of aweekly inventory report on Thursday, few expected much upsidewith gas fundamentals still favoring the bears. "There may have been a little technical buying earlier, butthere's nothing in the weather forecast that could make mebullish right now and time is slipping away," a Chicago-basedtrader said. With no extreme cold on the horizon, most traders agreed gasprices were likely to remain on the defensive, with inventoriesstill near record highs for this time of year and productionflowing at or near an all-time peak. Traders and analysts were waiting for the next U.S. EnergyInformation Administration storage report on Thursday, with mostexpecting inventories to have fallen by just 4 billion cubicfeet last week, according to a Reuters poll. A draw at the Reuters poll estimate would be viewed asbearish, coming in well below last year's drop of 79 bcf and thefive-year average decline for that week of 113 bcf. At 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT), front-month gas futures onthe New York Mercantile Exchange were down 2.2 cents at $3.39per million British thermal units after sinking early to asix-week low of $3.366. The front contract, which hit a 13-month high of $3.933about three weeks ago, lost nearly 8 percent in the previousfour sessions, its biggest four-day slide in 12 weeks. AccuWeather.com expects temperatures in the Northeast andMidwest, key gas consuming regions, to average above normal forthe next week or so, then cool to below normal just before theChristmas holiday as daytime highs drop into the high 20s andlow 30s Fahrenheit. BEARISH INVENTORY REPORTS AHEAD EIA storage data last week showed gas inventories for theweek ended Nov. 30 fell 73 bcf to 3.804 trillion cubic feet. While storage last week fell below year-ago levels for thefirst time in 13 months, traders noted that total stocks werestill 168 bcf, or 5 percent, above the five-year average, acomfortable cushion to meet any winter spikes in demand orunexpected disruptions in supply. A huge inventory surplus to last year, which peaked in Aprilat nearly 900 bcf, has been wiped out, but stocks are expectedto climb back above year-ago levels in Thursday's EIA report. Stocks hit a record high of 3.929 tcf in early November,making this the fourth straight year in which gas inventorieshave headed into the heating season at a record peak. RIGS DECLINE, PRODUCTION STILL NEAR RECORD Baker Hughes Inc data on Friday showed thegas-directed rig count fell by seven last week to 417, justabove the 13-1/2 year low of 413 posted four weeks ago. Drilling for natural gas has mostly been in decline for morethan a year, with gas rigs down 55 percent since peaking in 2011at 936 in October. But so far production has shown nosignificant sign of slowing. In its short-term energy outlook on Tuesday, EIA said itexpects gas production in 2013 to rise to a record high for athird straight year, while consumption was expected to dropslightly from 2012 levels.