There's really only one word to describe what kind of year 2014 has been for Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and its fellow coals stocks: rough. Shares of Peabody are down 23% this year, but, hey, at least it isn't on the list of worst performing energy stocks like Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR).

Because of their dismal performance thus far, any news that isn't bad would be welcome. And this quarter there was a small sliver of hope in Peabody's earnings: the price for coal from the Powder River Basin. Since Peabody, Alpha, Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI), and Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE:CLD)-- America's four largest coal producers -- all source a significant part of their coal from this basin, the price of Powder River Basin coal will have a significant role in all of these companies future.

Tune into the video below to find out why the smallest difference in PRB coal means so much and what other tidbits from Peabody's earnings were enough to send shares of coal stocks higher. 

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Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned.You can follow him at under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google+, or on Twitter @TylerCroweFool.

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