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Gartman: Coal Stocks Will Pay Off for Patient Contrarians

Gartman: Coal Stocks Will Pay Off for Patient Contrarians

By    |   Thursday, 31 December 2015 10:04 AM

The coal sector has been burned amid low natural gas prices and regulatory headwinds in recent years.

So conventional investing wisdom wouldn't lead you to scoop up those beaten-down shares right now. But US News is encouraging you to think for yourself and break away from the "play it safe" crowd.

Dennis Gartman, an investor and publisher of the The Gartman Letter, an advice publication primarily for institutional investors, says buying coal is a contrarian stock pick.

Coal-fired generation probably won't go below 25 to 30 percent of the nation's electricity mix over the next 10 years, Gartman says, perhaps only totally being phased out within the lifetime of millennials.

Because the nation has no choice but to use coal for years to come, buying a cheap coal stock, holding it for a decade and reaping its cash flows as the company continues to produce could prove a good strategy, Gartman says.

US News' Matt Whittaker agrees. "Over the long term, a small amount of exposure to the ailing U.S. coal industry might prove nice for investment portfolios," Whittaker writes.

"In 2010 and 2011, the coal industry, which supplies coal-fired power plants as well as steel plants, had a good head of steam amid a strengthening U.S. economy and projections of strong growth in China, India and other emerging markets," he explained. "But over the last five years, the Dow Jones U.S. coal index has lost more than 95 percent as utilities switched to cheap natural gas, China has imported less than expected and India has been able to supply its own coal needs from internal production," Whittaker said.

"The political and social environment has also not been kind to coal, as large investors such as pension funds and government organizations have committed to divesting themselves of fossil fuels," Whittaker said.

Whittaker explains that coal isn't going anywhere.

"America's coal addiction isn't going to completely go away for some time. Last year, the commodity provided 39 percent of the nation's electricity, making it the biggest source of power in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration," he said. At some point, low valuations for coal companies could become a bargain opportunity, experts say.

And for the coal industry, the bad news continues.

China will stop approving new coal mines for the next three years and continue to trim production capacity as the world’s biggest energy consumer tries to shift away from the fuel as it grapples with pollution, Bloomberg reported.

China will suspend the approval of new mines starting in 2016 and will cut coal’s share of its energy consumption to 62.6 percent next year, from 64.4 percent now, Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday, citing National Energy Administration head Nur Bekri.

It’s the first time the government has suspended the approval of new coal mines, according to Deng Shun, an analyst with ICIS China.

(Newsmax wires contributed to this report).

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The coal sector has been burned amid low natural gas prices and regulatory headwinds.
coal, stocks, invest, energy
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2015-04-31
Thursday, 31 December 2015 10:04 AM
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