As the two candidates discussed their strikingly similar energy policies last night, Mitt Romney uttered the following words: “I like coal. I’m going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal.”
That was the only mention of the fossil fuel all night. Yet, incredibly, it was enough to convince people to invest in coal today.
Coal prices are on the rise today, driving up shares of prominent coal companies such as Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) and James River Coal (NASDAQ: JRCC). Peabody, the largest coal company in the U.S., was up 4.5% today. James River climbed 12%.
That goes to show you the power of these presidential debates.
Yesterday I wrote that presidential debates generally don’t sway voters, and thus have even lesser impact on the stock market. And as a whole, that’s true.
But in this case, Romney specifically plugged a natural resource by name – a natural resource that is trading near 40-year lows, no less. Surely coal investors have been looking for any signs of good news. The past two days, it has come in droves.
First, the Financial Times reported that U.S. overseas coal exports are on track for a record year. Now Mitt Romney has reiterated – on a very big stage in front of a mammoth national audience – his desire to continue ramping up coal production.
So it has been a very good 48 hours for coal. Better get in on coal stocks now while the resource is still relatively cheap – and before Romney mentions it again in his next debate.