NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investing in coal has yielded lousy results for the last two and a half years. Since peaking in April 2011 the Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL) is down 59% while the energy sector as measured by the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 7.5%. Things have been so rough that PowerShares closed its Global Coal Portfolio fund in February, which had only $10 million in assets.As difficult as it has been for the coal industry it stands to become even more difficult because of new legislation on emissions for new coal-fired plants.
Consol Energy ( CSX) and China Shenhua Energy (CSUAY:OTC) are the two largest holdings in the fund, each accounting for slightly more than 8%. Since its inception in June 2008, KOL has become something of a yield play. It pays dividends annually. Its first dividend in 2008 was 9 cents, and its 2012 dividend was 42 cents, although the 2011 dividend was 48 cents. The Market Vectors Web site reports KOL's 30-day yield according to the Securities and Exchange Commission's formula is 4.09%. This is not an accurate reflection of what fundholders should expect. The trailing yield based on last December's payout and the current price is 2.1%. Follow @randomroger This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.