NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major coal companies like Patriot Coal ( PCX), International Coal Group ( ICO) and Westmoreland Coal ( WLB) outperformed other stocks past week, while silver stocks like Alexco Resources ( AXU), Silver Wheaton ( SLW) and Silver Standard Resources ( SSRI) eroded a significant portion of their stock value.The flooding disaster in Australia has dented coal supply, due to which prices are set to rise in the coming months, thereby boosting coal producers' profits worldwide. Exacerbating the concerns, South African coal shipments have also been delayed by the severe rain. Coal shortages and supply disruptions appear at time when global coal demand is on a roll. In such a scenario, coal stocks are a good buy. Moreover, BlackRock analyst Daniel Rice adds prices of coal stocks are likely to double as oil prices spike to nearly $100 a barrel, reported Bloomberg. Patriot Coal soared 19.7% last week after BB&T Capital Markets upgraded the stock's rating to buy from the earlier hold. Additionally, the industry is concerned that flooding in Australia could sustain U.S. coal exports. Moreover, as coal demand is forecast to grow robustly, an improved economic outlook in the U.S. cushions the demand for coal, which is essential for the development of other commodities. International Coal Group scaled up 11% after analysts at Dahlman Rose raised its target price to $12 from the earlier set $10. Meanwhile, rumors surfaced that Massey Energy ( MEE) is negotiating a potential takeover of ICO, thus seeking strategic alternatives for the company. If the two entities combine, the synergies from the deal may accelerate market competition. Massey is likely to benefit from International Coal's mining operations and reserves, which are strategically located to serve its client base of utility, metallurgical and industrial customers spread across eastern U.S., reported Trefis. Massey gained 4.6% after Dahlman Rose raised its target price to $67 from the earlier $48. Natural Resource Partners ( NRP) zoomed 5.5%. The stock was upgraded to an outperform rating from the earlier neutral rating. Meanwhile, another coal company Westmoreland Coal jumped 9.3% past week. After Dahlman Rose raised its price target to $74 from the earlier $52, Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) accumulated 8.7% during the past one week.
Consol Energy ( CNX), a producer of coking coal, gained 4.4% last week. Dahlman Rose raised its target price to $59 from the earlier $44. As per industry experts, coking coal prices are estimated to increase by almost 33%, offering U.S. producers the opportunity to replace Australian coal and benefit from increasing prices, reported Bloomberg. The rise is because mines located in the flooded Queensland region account for the majority of premium hard coking coal supply globally. Meanwhile, Dahlman Rose also raised price targets for Arch Coal ( ACI) from $34 to $43, Peabody Energy ( BTU) from $66 to $80 and Walter Energy ( WLT) from $110 to $142. Silver prices plunged 7.6% last week, the sharpest decline in more than 26 months, touching 10-week lows due to panic selling. This decline narrowed silver holdings in iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) to one-month lows. Notably, the downslide in silver prices is on the strengthening dollar index, buoyed by positive job data from the U.S. Additionally, another factor pushing prices lower is Beijing's fiscal policies to control inflation by raising reserve requirements for lenders and also the benchmark interest rates. In tandem with silver prices, price of Alexco Resources and Silver Wheaton slumped 14.8% and 14.2%, respectively. However, Alexco recently announced the start of commercial production at its 100%-owned Bellekeno silver-lead-zinc mine and mill complex in the Yukon territory. Silver Standard Resources plummeted 13.7%. The company reported that its silver production has reached 6.3 million ounces, as of Dec. 31, 2010. Looking ahead into 2011, it estimates its production levels to reach 8.5 million ounces of silver. Coeur d'Alene Mines ( CDE) eroded 11.2%. Meanwhile, Mag Silver ( MVG) and Hecla Mining ( HL) dropped 11% each. Zacks Investment Research has reaffirmed its neutral rating on both the stocks last week. Similarly, Pan American Silver ( PAAS) tumbled 10.7%. Zacks reaffirmed its neutral rating on the stock during the week. Endeavour Silver ( EXK) lost 10.9%. During the week, the company set a new record for its quarterly silver production for the fourth quarter. It estimates an increase of 15%, as compared to the same period a year ago. Providing historical statistics, EXK said its silver production increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2010 by 26%, as compared to its 2009 levels.