WSJ report: Despite gas boom, U.S. coal isn't dead

|By:, SA News Editor

Coal companies (KOL) have been closing mines and laying off workers, but coal isn't going away: Coal remains the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity in the U.S. even as production leaves Appalachia in favor of places such as Wyoming, and exports are growing fast.

One reason coal won't disappear soon is that regulators are reluctant to let utilities become too dependent on natural gas, fearing that a sudden price jump could send electricity prices soaring; also, utilities have billions of dollars invested in plants that haven't been paid off.

Overall, U.S. coal production is projected to remain relatively constant over the next three decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA's quarterly coal report).

Top coal names: BTU, ACI, ANR, CLD, CNX, JRCC, WLT.