Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Investing in coal stocks

Stocks related to this fossil fuel critical to energy production have surged. Here's what you need to know before investing.

Global demand for coal is surging as the pandemic slowdown ebbs, and that has coal prices hitting new records. Numerous news reports this week tell of low stockpiles as prices rise. And that has stocks in the industry surging.

  • Shares of Arch Resources (ARCH), the second-largest coal supplier in the US, are up 25% in the last week and 123% year-to-date.
  • Peabody Energy (BTU), the largest supplier, saw shares jump 21% in the last week and 549% YTD.
  • Denver-based Hallador Energy (HNRG) was up 27% in the last week and 103% YTD.

And while other factors may be at work on some stocks in the sectors, these kinds of gains are common right now. Demand for coal is still expected to fall long-term amid concern over climate change and a shift to other fuels, right now the sector is hot.

Here are some basics for those considering an investment in coal.

What is coal?

Coal is a rock that’s predominantly made of carbon. Its combustible properties make it useful to burn for fuel and accounts for almost 40% of the world’s electricity generation.

Ten countries produce 90% of the world’s coal, with China, India and the United States leading the pack. Despite a growing climate change movement and calls for green energy, the coal demand is forecast to remain stable into 2024.

Coal stocks include companies that mine and process coal for electricity plants and steel production.

Why invest in coal stocks?

China consumed over 50% of the world’s coal production in 2018, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. While the global coal demand should remain stable through 2024, China’s coal demand is predicted to peak in 2025.

High demand for this fossil fuel is likely to bump coal stock prices in the foreseeable future. So although coal won’t be the dominant energy source that it once was during the Industrial Revolution, it’s not going anywhere yet.

Risks of investing in coal

Coal stocks face three primary obstacles:

  1. Government policies. When coal is burned for energy, it produces greenhouse gas emissions. Governments are adopting stronger climate policies to reduce air pollution by slowly phasing out coal power generation.
  2. Competition. Renewable energy, including wind, solar power and natural gas, are slowly edging coal out of the market. For example, coal generation is forecast to drop by more than 5% every year through 2024 in Europe and the United States.
  3. Developments in China. Being a coal consumer giant, China strongly influences coal demand. China anticipates consumption to peak in 2025, while the International Energy Agency thinks demand could plateau as soon as 2022. Either way, coal demand will steadily fall as China weans off of coal and implements its cleaner energy strategy.

Coal stocks

Many coal stocks trade on the New York Stock Exchange. But certain stocks, including China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd., are only available over-the-counter or from an international exchange. Select a company to learn more about what they do and how their stock performs, including market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield. While this list includes a selection of the most well-known and popular stocks, it doesn't include every stock available.

What ETFs track the coal category?

The only ETF tracking the coal industry shut down recently. So ETF investors can’t find a clean-cut coal play.

Compare trading platforms

You’ll need a brokerage account to purchase coal stocks. Take a look at a few popular brokers to find one that fits your investing goals.

Name Product Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
M1 Finance
Stocks
$0
0%
Free 1-year trial of M1 Plus
when you sign up for M1 Finance
Invest in your favorite stocks or in curated portfolios with automatic rebalancing.
SoFi Invest
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
Get one free stock worth up to $1,000
Open an account
A free way to invest in most equities.
TradeStation
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0 + $0.50/contract
$0 per month
$10 of crypto
Open an account with access to crypto
A platform built for all kinds of traders and all styles of trading
Robinhood
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
0%
Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
Sign up using the "go to site" link
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Stash Invest
Stocks, ETFs
$0
$1 per month
$5
Add at least $5 to your Invest account
Stash is more than an investment app. You’ll have access to tools that can help you become a confident investor.
Public
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
$0 per month
Download and sign up with Public.com; approved accounts receive a free stock slice worth up to $300, selected from 9 popular stocks.
Open an account
Commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs with a social networking twist.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

Coal stocks could be a solid short-term investing opportunity. Demand should steadily increase in the coming years, but keep your eye on renewable energy and natural gas that’s slowly inching toward a bigger piece of the energy pie.

To invest in coal, compare trading platforms to open a brokerage account.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site