Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, small-cap coal miner International Coal Group (NYSE: ICO) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at International Coal's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

International Coal facts

Headquarters (founded)

Scott Depot, W.Va. (2004)

Market Cap

$1.46 billion


Coal and consumable fuels

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$1.15 billion


CEO Bennett Hatfield (since 2005)

CFO Bradley Harris (since 2006)

Return on Equity (average, past 3 years)



$213.2 million / $341.1 million


Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU)

Massey Energy (NYSE: MEE)

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 98% of the 813 members who have rated International Coal believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include midouglas and tmaz.

Earlier this year , midouglas touched on International Coal's small size as a potent opportunity: "I like it's size compared to it's competitors and I like the energy sector. Despite moves to discover other energy sources, good old Appalachian coal will be around for a long time."

Despite International Coal's relatively small size, many in our community believe it sports some big advantages. In fact, International Coal owns a larger portion of its reserves (66%), which helps to reduce royalty costs, than the vast majority of publicly traded coal producers -- from larger foes like Peabody (39%), Alpha Natural (19%), and Massey (15%), to more similarly sized rivals Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) (36%) and James River Coal (Nasdaq: JRCC) (6%).  

CAPS All-Star tmaz takes a broader look at the bull case:

Simply put, "Green Energy" is something that I won't see dominating any market in my lifetime. Coal may be dirty but it works, its cheap and its proven. India and China along with other emerging markets will be the largest net consumers of this energy source in the future and through simple economics of supply and demand... will result in profitability in this market. Good numbers on this company, potential buyout as well? who knows, but 5 years will be more than enough time to reap the benefits from this investment.

What do you think about International Coal, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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