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By Chuck LeBeau, director of analytics at

There have been many market segments that have rallied substantially over the last two months but as might be expected it is the tech stocks and banking stocks that have received the most attention. The quiet rally in more mundane areas like coal has mostly gone unnoticed. Perhaps we can borrow a miner's helmet lamp and shine some light on these stocks.

Foundation Coal Holdings

( FCL), in just 11 market days, leaped to a May high of $31.54 from $14.65.

Peabody Energy

(BTU) - Get Peabody Energy Corporation Report

has seesawed its way from a March low of $20.17 to a May high of $34.15.

James River Coal


has crept to a May high of $24.30 from a March low of $8.85, an impressive gain of 174%.

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And the leader of the pack,

Patriot Coal

( PCX), has recovered from a March low of $2.76 to a May high of $10.90. That represents a quiet gain of 295%.

Representing the general strength in the coal stocks, the

Market Vectors Coal ETF

(KOL) - Get VanEck Vectors Coal ETF Report

, has climbed from a March low of $10.88 to a May high of $24.

Prudent investors may want to avoid excessive risk in these stocks and a new service at

can help. Like the proverbial "canary in a coal mine" SmartStops can alert you when your stocks are getting into trouble. According to the most recent SmartStops data, the critical levels to watch are if FCL drops to $23.36; BTU to $27.92; JRCC drops to $16.85; PCX if it drops to $8.26; and KOL if it drops to $20.14.

Note: SmartStop alert prices change daily. For up to date daily alerts visit