Managing a coal company over the past year and half has not been an enviable role. Prices have dropped, but not quite as fast as demand, thanks to the fossil fuel du jour: natural gas. That hasn't stopped CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX) from taking diversifying moves to help its own cause. During this downturn, CONSOL has focused its capital spending on the development of natural gas in the Appalachia region while spending just enough to ensure that its coal business doesn't falter. 

On the heels of a better-than-expected release from Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and expectations from Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) that coal prices could rise somewhat in 2013, both businesses might be set to succeed in tandem. The price of natural gas has been climbing rapidly to start 2013, which should help coal regain some traction. And its East Coast export facility continues to provide access to the demanding European market. In the following video, Taylor Muckerman expects some positive news on Thursday and thinks you should, too.

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Halliburton and CONSOL Energy. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.