When a heart stops beating, every second counts in the race to register a pulse.
After watching an entire industry flatline this year in collective cardiac arrest, nervous investors will breathe a welcome sigh of relief as signs of life return.
Meanwhile, investors with exposure to coal will assign particular importance to Patriot's reiteration of the bullish long-term outlook for export-ready coal ... most notably in the case of metallurgical coal used by steelmakers. Countering widespread speculation of a major softening of demand, Patriot offers a timely update from multiple hotspots within the global coal market that Peabody Energy
These are certainly welcome and reassuring anecdotes from a number of key destinations for export coal, but conspicuously absent from Patriot's market discussion was any specific mention of the 800-pound gorilla in the coal mine: China. China's role within the long-term demand outlook that prevailed before coal stocks entered critical condition over the summer months can scarcely be overstated, so I do find Patriot's silence on the matter somewhat troubling. Although I for one am of the mind that China's long-term growth outlook is unlikely to have turned on a dime, I concede that even a near-term hiccup there could continue to reverberate throughout the bulk commodity sectors until clarity is restored.
The ongoing commodity correction -- which has similarly decimated stocks relating to copper and even precious-metals production -- has left me with some deep-underwater picks for 2011 within my silverminer CAPS portfolio. My Patriot Coal pick has thus far underperformed the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) by 46%, and my score for Alpha Natural Resources
Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal, and Peabody Energy. We Fools may not 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.