This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Six Ways to Invest in the Coming Coal Boom

I have seen the fuel of the future.

It's not natural gas. That was the fuel of the future in 2000.

It's not uranium. That might be the fuel of the future in 2015, if the new generation of nuclear plants turns out to be as good -- once someone builds one and operates it for a while -- as their proponents hope.

It's not solar or wind or fuel cells, either. But they could give nuclear a run for its money by 2015 -- if government subsidies produce enough of a market to drive costs down further.

Nope. The fuel of the future is coal. For the next five years anyway.

My prediction is based on nothing more or less grand than this: Coal is cheap, and the coal supply is stable.

I think investors can count on coal stocks, such as Peabody Energy (BTU) and Arch Coal (ACI), to continue to outperform the stock market -- on average -- for the next five years.

An even better bet, however, are the shares of the companies that make the steam turbines that allow utilities to turn coal into electricity. I'd put General Electric (GE), Germany's Siemens (SI) and France's Alstom in that group. And, of those, Alstom would be my favorite.

Exactly how cheap is coal? Really, really cheap when you compare it with other fuels used to generate electricity. In December, according to the investment bank Natexis Bleichroeder, U.S. coal sold for the equivalent (taking into consideration the different energy content of the two fuels) of natural gas priced at $3 to $4 per million BTUs. In December, the spot price of natural gas hit $15.50 per million British thermal units. On Jan. 19, after a monthlong selloff, natural gas sold for $8.59 per million BTUs. Even if the price of natural gas falls further -- to, say, $7 per million BTUs -- coal will still be about half as expensive as natural gas.

Building Steam

Think utilities may have noticed? Last week, GE, Siemens and Alstom, which are three of the world's big makers of turbines for electricity generation, told The Financial Times that they were seeing a shift in their orders to steam turbines for coal-fired utility plants from natural-gas turbines. According to the three, coal-powered units will make up about 40% of all orders for electricity turbines in the next 10 years, with the share for natural-gas-fired turbines falling to 25% to 30% of orders.

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs