Dominant Energy Supplier Is Still Coal

Partly inspired by our recent trip throughout the West, and partly inspired by our long position in Teck Resources Limited (TECK) which gained over 11% on Friday while the SPY closed basically flat, coal is the topic for the weekend.

Coal is the major supplier to steel and utilities. Coal-fired electricity plants, despite climate change and moves to reduce coal, still dominates as an energy supplier.

China is the biggest producer of coal with the U.S second.

Although there has been a movement towards “clean” coal, the term is a bit of an oxymoron as to get coal, mining for it strips the environment.

Regardless, the photo I took is while sitting at a railroad yard crossing in Livingston Montana.

A train (owned by Warren Buffet-Berkshire Hathaway Santa Fe Railroad), of easily over 100 cars filled with nothing but coal, stuck with me. (BRK-A)

Before we left on vacation, we bought TECK at 11.35.

Teck mines, processes, and distributes coal.

Coal the ETF (KOL) and TECK (as well as other coal stocks) have underperformed the market by a vast amount.

For example, while coal is down over 40% year-to-year, the SPY is up about 10% for the same period.

What made us buy TECK then?

The chart shows you that when we entered long in early August, the real motion indicator already showed a divergence. Momentum increased (cleared the 50-DMA) before the price did.

We put on our long position the day price confirmed into a recuperation phase over the 50-DMA.

It was not until this Friday TECK blasted off clearing the 200-DMA and entering an accumulation phase.

KOL the ETF is also over the 200-DMA as of Friday. There has been a divergence between price and momentum since early August there as well.

The P/E in coal companies has declined considerably. Companies have lost a lot of money or gone bankrupt. Overall interest in coal as an investment has waned.

Socially conscious investing has brought attention to clean air or solar energy. By the end of 2021 it is predicted that it will be cheaper to build solar plants than to keep active coal plants.

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