Consol Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) trades around $41.00 after a 2% run Thursday morning and is also on deck in a couple of weeks for earnings. The 52-week range here is broad at $31.08 to $58.00 and the market cap is $9.24 billion. Thomson Reuters has estimates of $0.60 EPS and $1.35 billion in revenues. For 2010, the estimates are $2.56 EPS and $5.25 billion in revenues.
The company targeted gas production up 44% this week for the quarter since it hit gas in the Utica shale. Low gas prices matter here. As far as coal, it produced 14.7 million tons of coal in the last quarter. Margins may have risen with pricing but Consol is a hybrid that is still being evaluated as part-coal, part-gas. Shares seem to have underperformed if you just look at the chart, but Consol’s stock has risen about 25% since the August lows.
Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) trades close to $47.00 with a $5.6 billion market cap and the 52-week range here is $32.00 to $55.70. Earnings are due in early November and Thomson Reuters has estimates of $0.80 EPS and $987.4 million. For the year, those estimates are $3.06 EPS and $3.94 billion in revenues, and that is expected to jump to $4.70 EPS and $4.37 billion in revenue in 2011.
The Appalachian metallurgical and diversified coal producer is technically one of the newer coal players, but it is diverse. The stock has risen from under $35.00 to $47 from the summer lows for close to a 40% gain. Shares were also at a low of close to $35 in August.
If you want a comparison of how these all stack up against each other, there is the great coal miner ETF. The Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSE: KOL) trades close to $41 today and the 52-week trading range is $28.35 to $41.55. The assets are still relatively small but all the components mentioned are large weightings in the ETF. Shares were under $30 at the summer lows and that makes for gains of more than one-third. Shares were also around $32 at the lows of August, so the stock is up over 25% since then.
The big question that lies ahead is whether these often environmentally hated players can keep up with the moves that have already been factored in. The guessing game is going to be around 2011 where all the big earnings growth is expected. Now there is the currency game going on to boot. If these companies can live up to those expectations then the shares are not overly expensive even after the large gains seen. The flip-side of the equation is that any hesitance, and talking-down, or any caution noted for 2011 will likely give traders the idea that they better take profits immediately. Massey remains a wild card because of its history now, and we already know all of these have run from lows.
JON C. OGG