Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Coal and Steel Stocks Take A Hit

From Bespoke Investment Group:
Coal and mining companies have been some of the top performing stocks this year, but since the start of July (1 and a half trading days), many of these names have gotten hit with declines of 10% or more. As shown below, Massey Energy (MEE), which was the top performing S&P 500 stock at the end of the second quarter, is down 14.05% in July. James River Coal (JRCC), which was the top performing Russell 3,000 stock at the end of June, is down 13.43% in the last two days. This big selloff in the top performing names indicates that money managers and other institutional investors were most likely holding onto these names for window dressing purposes through the end of the quarter, only to take profits in them at the first chance they had....MORE including a performance table of the top 15 names.

And from MarketBeat:
...Investors fret over the day when the price of oil will sharply reverse, taking with it the profits garnered in buying exchange-traded funds and shares of oil-related companies. Did they witness a preview of that with the action in coal-related stocks today? Shares of coal companies were hammered Wednesday, with several companies falling dramatically after a sharp decline (as much as 16%) in over-the-counter futures for central Appalachian coal, which is cleared through the New York Mercantile Exchange. Among the big decliners were Arch Coal Inc., down 17%, Consol Energy, off 15%, Patriot Coal, down 15%, and Foundation Coal, which lost nearly 12%. According to Schaeffer’s Investment Research, the price of central Appalachian coal had increased by 182% in the past 52 weeks — compared with the puny 100% rise in crude oil futures — and the turnaround may have been the result of banks taking profits, they write. Morgan Stanley analysts pushed the bullish case in commentary, saying “there is potential for further coal price weakness in global and US coal markets following recent strong gains,” but that they believe “any further equity weakness in response to softer OTC prices presents an attractive opportunity to build positions.”...