NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Patriot Coal ( PCX) will stand to benefit the most from the bullish indicators for the coal industry, according to a recent coal-stock poll by TheStreet.

Patriot Coal was deemed the ultimate coal stock heavyweight winner, according to 33.9% of poll voters. Trailing Patriot Coal was Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR), which won 20% of the votes.

Next in line was Arch Coal ( ACI), which received 19.4% of the votes, followed by Massey Energy, ( MEE) with 14.6% of the votes.

Consol Energy ( CNX) came in last, with 12.1% of the votes.

Find a Good Coal Stock Dividend

Patriot Coal rose 2.3% to end Friday at $20.20, despite falling 6.7% over the week. Patriot Coal on March 5 said it would temporarily suspend operations at its Federal No. 2 mine near Fairview, West Virginia when an air-quality measurement was determined to be out of compliance with its ventilation plan. On March 8, Patriot said that alterations to the company's ventilation plan were approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration and the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training; that air-quality measurements were in compliance; and that it was resuming operations at the Federal No. 2 mine.

Recently rumors surfaced that Massey was interested in acquiring Patriot Coal, though a spokesman said Patriot doesn't comment on market rumors and the former didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, according to Reuters.

Brean Murray Carret & Co analyst Jeremy Sussman also opted out of commenting about the rumor, but told Reuters this much about the industry as a whole: "any rumors investors hear are not going to hurt sentiment for the group."

Indeed, China's ravenous hunger for coal, an upturn in industrial activity around the world, and increasing signs of a global economic rebound are heating up the bullish outlook on coal stocks -- trends reflected by the Market Vectors Coal ETF ( KOL), which has soared 196.7% over the last 52 weeks.

One stock not listed in our poll, but mentioned as a favorite by Jim Cramer on his CNBC "Mad Money" show last week and on our recent report on finding a good coal stock dividend is Walter Energy ( WLT).

"Not all coal is created equal," according to Cramer, who noted that the great majority of the Walter Energy's income is attached to the metallurgical coal so highly prized by China right now.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.