What: Shares of CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX) slid by 11.4% by 3:30 p.m. EST Wednesday on the news that it was cutting its production guidance from its coal mines for all of 2016.
So What: If coal wasn't struggling enough already, CONSOL Energy announced on Wednesday that warmer than ususal weather as of late has put a hamper on the company's coal sales, and as a result the company was lowering its production guidance for all of 2016 from 30.6 million tons-33.4 million tons to 27 million tons-32 million tons. The company has already sold 24.1 million tons of that coal through futures contracts.
Similarly, CNX Coal Resources LP (NYSE:CNXC), CONSOL's subsidiary MLP for some of its coal assets, lowered its guidance for total coal produced from 5 million tons-5.4 million tons to 4.4 million tons-5.2 million tons. Of those volumes, 4.8 million tons are already sold on long term contract, so the company's guidance suggests that it doesn't expect much more coal to be sold in 2016.
Now What: The coal market has been absolutely brutal for close to five years now, and it doesn't really look like the market is going to improve much in 2016. CONSOL Energy had been one of the more interesting ways to invest in the coal industry because it also had considerable natural gas production, making it one of the few American coal producers that weren't pure plays on coal. CONSOL remains as one of the few coal companies in decent financial shape in the US. With another year of weak coal ahead of it, though, that position could deteriorate pretty quickly.
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