Peabody Rises as Profit Tops Estimates on Mining Costs

Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer, rose the most in three months after reporting fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as some mining costs fell.

Peabody climbed 5.6 percent to $26.56 in New York, the biggest gain since Oct. 22. It had a net loss of $1.01 billion, or $3.78 a share, in the quarter, which compares with net income of $222.4 million, or 82 cents, a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Profit excluding costs from asset impairments, an income-tax expense and other one-time items was 36 cents a share, topping the 26-cent average of 24 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Coal-mining costs in Australia fell 11 percent to $73.47 a ton in the quarter from a year earlier, the company said in the statement. Brian Yu, a San Francisco-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., estimated $75.79 a ton, he said in a note to clients. Costs also rose less than Yu estimated at Peabody’s mines in both the U.S. Midwest and West.

“Upside to our estimate was driven by better cost performance from both Australian and U.S. operations,” Yu said today in the note.

Shipments from Australia climbed in the quarter as economic growth in China, the world’s largest steelmaker, accelerated for the first time in two years. Total sales in the fourth quarter fell to $2.02 billion from $2.23 billion, beating the $1.91 billion average of nine estimates.

Quarterly Forecast

The company forecast a first-quarter loss excluding one-time items of 4 cents to 26 cents on expectations of higher mining costs in Australia, lower realized metallurgical-coal pricing, and lower U.S. sales and pricing. Analysts projected a loss of 3 cents, the average of 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Peabody ships metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, to Asian customers from its Australian mines. It also produces thermal coal, burned by utility companies to generate electricity at its Australian and U.S. mines.

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