A Big Upgrade for Massey Energy

Every day, the sun rises on Wall Street, and a plethora of professional analysts rub their eyes and issue new opinions on stocks. Here at the Fool, we use our "This Just In" column to examine some of these picks -- and the track record of the company behind them -- so individuals can make better investing decisions.

In addition to following professional banks, anyone can use Motley Fool CAPS to monitor the collective opinions of more than 110,000 investors, many of whom demonstrate better investing insight than published analysts do.

Recently, enough top-performing CAPS investors have turned bullish on Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE  ) to upgrade the coal producer from its three-star rank to four stars. Of the 512 investors who've shared their opinions on Massey Energy, many have offered detailed analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

A combination of factors have pushed shares of Massey higher lately. Er, make that through the flippin' roof -- shares have soared almost 180% in only three months. On a macro scale, shares of coal companies, including peers Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU  ) and Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI  ) , have been boosted by analysts' predictions of strong coal prices for the next few years.

With an 18% share of the U.S. metallurgical coal market -- just behind Alpha Natural Resources' (NYSE: ANR  ) 21% share and double Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE: CLF  ) 9% portion -- Massey stands to reap significant gains from continued upward pressure on coal prices.

Internally, Massey is moving to take advantage of higher sale prices for coal by increasing capital spending by about $90 million to expand production. Not everything is running smoothly, however, as Massey has been plowing through several legal spats this year. Even with outcomes that could cost Massey millions, though, investors think the demand for coal will override any negative legal effects. Nearly 93% of the 512 CAPS investors rating the company think it will outperform the S&P going forward.

In fact, with Massey now joining the S&P index, and a new coal ETF that includes Massey and other coal stocks like Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG  ) and CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX  ) , more investors than ever will be getting a piece of this black rock.

To see what the very best CAPS analysts are saying now about Massey Energy -- as well as other winning stocks they are picking -- head on over to CAPS and have a look.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock gives Twinkies a thumbs-up, but Suzie-Qs a thumbs-down -- too much cream. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy makes boo-boos feel better than a band-aid ever could.

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