Alpha Natural +2.6% as earnings loss not as bad as expected

|About: Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (ANRZQ)|By:, SA News Editor

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) posted a wider Q4 earnings loss but came in ahead of analyst estimates, sending shares +2.6% premarket.

Q4 sales of coal fell to 20.6M tons from 25.9M in the year-ago quarter, with the weighted average margin per ton falling to $4.57 from $17.45.

Recent bouts of very cold weather have increased demand for thermal coal and set “firmer" prices, but the market for metallurgical coal used in steelmaking continues to be “very challenging.”

ANR says it is changing its 2014 shipments guidance for eastern met and eastern steam coals primarily in response to weak pricing for low-quality met coals, which are selling below thermal prices; now expects to ship 77M-90M tons.

Capex guidance for 2014 is reduced to $250M-$300M to align levels of capital investment with the updated outlook for shipment levels.