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One way to sum up the general sentiment towards Yanzhou Coal (YZC) is to observe that the shares are down more than 15% over the past month while coal prices in China have increased by around 20%. There are reasons for more optimism about coal prices going into 2014, but Yanzhou's high production costs and high leverage make this a risky and volatile play on higher prices relative to peers like China Shenhua (OTCPK:CSUAY) or China Coal (OTCPK:CCOZY).

I can understand if Yanzhou jumps out as a contrarian play on coal given that generally negative sentiment on the stock. While I won't rule out the possibility that a rising tide of...

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