Bankruptcy News Killing Coal Miners (PCX, ACI, BTU, KOL, JRCC)

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Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE: PCX) was halted on a major downside move.  Bloomberg has reported that a bankruptcy filing is said to be coming as soon as today.  The headlines on the DJ broad tape showed a halt for a single-stock circuit breaker alert.  Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of the real end in coal.  With many coal-fired power plants being taken off-line in the United States, you know that the fallout here is being viewed elsewhere.

This is a company we have been worried about for quite some time, but the implication is how bad this can hurt the rest of the coal sector.  Shares of Patriot are down 35% at $1.42 against a 52-week range of $1.02 to $24.99 on the day.  The Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSEMKT: KOL) is down almost 4% at $24.36 against a 52-week range of $22.99 to $50.62.

Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is now down almost 8% at $6.56 and Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) is down almost 5% at $23.68.

James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC) is much smaller at $111 million in market value, but its stock is now down over 18% at $2.87 on the day.

Pain today, pain tomorrow.

JON C. OGG