Arch Coal (ACI) Stock Falls Today as Thermal Coal Prices Decline

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Arch Coal  (ACI) fell 5.58% to $2.37 in early afternoon trading Wednesday as thermal coal prices further declined amid a supply glut and reduced demand.

In the European market, cargoes for delivery in January to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) fell $1.25 to $73.75 per ton, according to Reuters. Cargoes for delivery in December from the Newcastle terminal in Australia dropped $1.35 to $63 per ton, and February cargoes dipped 35 cents to $64.35 per ton.

Arch Coal is the second-largest U.S. coal producer. The company has mining complexes in Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates ARCH COAL INC as a "sell" with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ARCH COAL INC (ACI) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and generally high debt management risk."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ARCH COAL INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ARCH COAL INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 12.81%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -13.09% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $80.34 million or 40.29% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • ACI's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 45.82%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.67 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, ACI has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 2.36, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ACI Ratings Report

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