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Stocks: Things aren’t looking too hot for coal & natural gas

Everyone knows the energy industry has been in a major slump over the last several months, but to see how bad it has really gotten all you need to do is take a look at stock prices.

Several, if not all, of the companies in the energy industry have all taken some sort of cut, whether it’s job cuts, budget cuts or share prices being cut.  Companies specifically working or based in Pennsylvania have definitely seen share prices take some major hits over the past year.  Many companies operating in Pennsylvania are hitting the 52nd consecutive week of low prices, and so far no one has an idea of when prices will rebound.

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, “A prime example is Canonsburg-based Consol Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX), which is down 59 percent in its share price since the start of the year. On Jan. 2, it was trading at $33.81 a share. On Monday, it closed at $13.86.”  Yet, Consol is not alone in the battle of share prices.  Rex Energy Corp, a State College-based company, has seen its shares fall by 49 percent since January 2nd, and Range Resources, a major operator in the Marcellus Shale formation, has watched its shares drop by 29 percent since the beginning of this year.

However, one Pittsburgh-based company has managed to come out slightly on top.  EQT Energy Corp. has watched its shares rise by 1 percent since January 2nd.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, “The low prices are leading to pickups of shares in the companies by investment funds. Consol, which has both natural gas and coal in its portfolio, has been bought up in large numbers by a number of big funds including Greenpoint Capital, Southeastern Asset Management and, late last week, a further investment by BlackRock Inc.”

Although the natural gas industry has taken some hits when it comes to the stock market, it isn’t nearly as bad as the current state of the coal industry.  Share prices in the coal business have basically collapsed and companies involved in the industry are being severely impacted by it.

Alpha Natural Resources Corp. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection from creditors on April 3rd and lost its position in the NYSE.  The company’s shares have dropped by 98 percent, going from $1.69 per share to 2 to 4 cents.  “Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is down 85 percent and Westmoreland Coal (NYSE: WLB) is off 64 percent this year,” states the Pittsburgh Business Times.

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