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The Barrage of Energy Sector Bankruptcies Has Begun

In May 2001, Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) went public. At the time, the company’s future looked so bright… In the prior year, the coal that Peabody sold had fueled the generation of over 9% of all electricity in the United States. The company had 9.3 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves. And China’s...

Commodities Market Doom and Gloom, According to Moody's

Moody’s Mood? Gloom and Doom

The downturn in commodities has rippled across all asset classes, especially the credit markets. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, either, as Moody’s Investors Service sees more negativity ahead. On February 4, Moody’s presented its findings in a panel sponsored by the Fixed Income Analysts Society (FIASI), entitled “Commodity Downturn Intensifies.” According...

Walter Energy Now a Distressed Opportunity in Disguise?

Walter Energy: A Distressed Opportunity?

I’m always looking for a big upside while trying to limit downside risk. (Who isn’t?) Which is why I find global deep value and “distressed” plays so interesting. These stocks are trading far down from their highs and oftentimes well below book or breakup value. This always prompts the question: How much worse could it...

Coal Industry Bearing the Weight of the Clean Power Plan

Bearing the Weight of the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan, recently announced by President Obama, is one of the most far-reaching regulations in the energy sector to date. For the first time, there’s a carbon emission ceiling for power plans, back by the federal government. This limit will have an impact on every aspect of the industry – from miners and...

Coal Industry Reignited by Supreme Court's Decision

Supreme Court Decision Reignites Coal Industry

The U.S. coal industry breathed a sigh of relief this week after the Supreme Court blocked President Obama’s proposed limits on mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act. The president had been enjoying a winning streak at the nation’s highest court. Recent decisions upheld his signature healthcare bill and the right of...

Oil, Coal, and LNG May Be Gone Sooner Than You Think

Will You Be Alive When We Run Out of Oil?

By the time I turn 81, humanity will have run out of oil. Just two years later, when I am 83, we’ll run out of coal. And if I live to the age of 141 – which isn’t such a far-fetched idea with the way life expectancy is rising – we’ll be out of natural...

Natural Gas Prices Should Soon Begin Rising

Natural Gas Prices Should Heat up Soon

Panic is taking hold across the country. Natural gas futures just hit a three-year low. This time a year ago, investors were licking their chops at the thought of higher natural gas prices. But now, investors in the sector are panicking over the possibility of natural gas prices dropping below $2 per thousand cubic feet (mcf)...

Norfolk Southern Corporation Takes a Dip

Norfolk Southern Corp. Takes a Dip

Since reaching a high of 9,217.44 on December 29, 2014, the Dow Jones Transportation Average (^DJT) has declined 5.3% year to date. It’s underperformed the broader stock market – resulting in the index’s first quarterly loss in almost two years. The index sits just below its 200-day moving average. So investors should read the writing...

Coal Tycoon Making Last Stand for U.S. Industry

Coal Tycoon Making Last Stand for U.S. Industry

A cloud of coal dust continues to hang over the U.S. coal industry. Lately, the industry has been dealing with some bad publicity from the coal ash spill into North Carolina’s Dan River last year. Coal ash is what you get after coal is burned by utilities for power. This remaining ash can contain a...