U.S. court move to block emission plan fails to sustain coal shares' boost

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2016 11:47 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to block federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions failed to give a sustained boost to shares of the long-battered coal sector on Wednesday.

Shares of Cloud Peak Energy Inc was up 2.7 percent after surging when the market opened. After initially trading higher, Consol Energy Inc stock slipped 2.3 percent, and Peabody Energy Corp fell 0.9 percent.

The Thomson Reuters U.S. coal index was off 3 percent against a 0.7 percent rise for the broader S&P 500 index.

The court's 5-4 ruling on Tuesday delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama by blocking the centerpiece of his administration's strategy to combat climate change.

The decision granted a request by 27 states and various companies and business groups to halt the administration's Clean Power Plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy away from fossil fuels.

The states, led by coal producer West Virginia, oil producer Texas and several major business groups in October began the legal effort to block the Obama administration's plan. The states said the emission curbs would devastate their economies.

Since Obama announced the emission program on April 3, the Thomson Reuters U.S. coal index has fallen about 76 percent amid a prolonged industry downturn.

The industry is suffering from a glut of cheap natural gas, coal's primary competitor for power generation, and oil. Miner Arch Coal Inc filed for bankruptcy last month.

For example, Peabody shares were trading at $3.35, a tiny fraction of their 52-week high of $120.30 reached in February 2015.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf Editing by W Simon and Lisa Von Ahn)