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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: AllianceHoldings, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, Alpha Natural Resources and Natural Resource

   Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: AllianceHoldings, Arch Coal, Peabody
        Energy, Alpha Natural Resources and Natural Resource Partners

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2012

CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses
the U.S. Coal, including AllianceHoldings GP, L.P. (Nasdaq:AHGP), Arch Coal,
Inc. (NYSE:ACI), Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU), Alpha Natural
Resources Inc. (NYSE:ANR), Natural Resource Partners L.P. (NYSE:NRP).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

A synopsis of today's Industry Outlook is presented below. The full article
can be read at 

Link: 
http://zcom.zacks.com/stock/news/88008/coal-industry-stock-review-december-2012

Apart from natural gas, the coal industry has been losing a major share of its
electric generation demand to renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and
hydro power.

Production of power from renewable sources has also been supported by various
U.S. states. At present there is no national consensus regarding the
percentage of energy to be generated from renewable sources by the power
generators.

Undoubtedly, state legislators are giving more emphasis to produce power from
renewables. At present, 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have
enforceable renewable portfolio standards or other renewable generation
policies. These policies were designed to spread awareness and encourage the
power generators to produce more from renewable sources.

The share of renewable fuels (including conventional hydro) in energy
generation is projected to grow from 10% in 2010 to 16% in 2035, as per the
EIA's long-term outlook.

Increasing Debt Levels: One of the major concerns for the coal companies is
the mounting debt levels. The need for expansion, locating new fields and
upgrading the existing system are pushing the coal companies to take more
credit from the market by issuing bonds and securities.

However, in some cases, the extra funds which are put into operation are not
generating the desired results. Some of the coal companies are on the brink of
failure to service its debts. Patriot Coal, for one, has filed for bankruptcy
protection.

Spiraling debt and a failure to service these debts on time lower the credit
worthiness and credit rating of a company. In such a scenario it gets
increasingly difficult for the company to collect funds from the market. And
the conditions, if funds are at all granted, get much stricter and less
favorable.

Earnings Review and Zacks Rank

The Zacks Industry Rank, which relies on the same estimate revisions
methodology that drives the Zacks Rank for stocks, currently puts the Coal
industry at 224 out of 260 industries in our expanded industry classification.
This puts the industry in the bottom third of all industries, which
corresponds to a negative outlook for the industry. None of the 18 companies
in the Coal industry has Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or Zacks Rank #2 (Buy),
while 6 have either Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) or Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

The earnings results of AllianceHoldings GP, L.P. (Nasdaq:AHGP), Arch Coal,
Inc. (NYSE:ACI), Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU), Alpha Natural
Resources Inc. (NYSE:ANR), Natural Resource Partners L.P. (NYSE:NRP), among
others, surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimates. The highest positive surprise
of 35 cents came from Arch Coal with the lowest surprise of 5 cents coming
from Rhino Resources.

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