Breathe easier — coal’s dead-end road…

Finally President Obama has come right out and said it — coal has got to go.

For all of its history, at best a necessary evil, the coal industry was been poisoning the planet, killing mountains and streams, enslaving whole regions of people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and now in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, and with  a wanton disregard for mine safety and health, even killing its own employees.

Even now in the waning years of coal-powered electrical generation, the financial calculations of the damage to public health by the industry exceed the market cap of many of the coal companies themselves.

With the advancement of renewable clean energy technologies in wind and solar and thermal (and probably in the end in safer nuclear), it is time for clean renewable energy to take over the future.

The President’s announced plan, as the New York Times has just now editorialized with President Obama’s Tough, Achievable Climate Plan, continues the trend that has been going on now for some time as fracking for cleaner natural gas, as well as environmental regulations, have taken a devastating toll on the coal companies stocks. It is getting to the point now that the industry’s constant blat that coal is cheaper (even if it kills you) is not going to play anymore against the better cleaner sources of energy.

These last couple of years, companies like Peabody Energy (BTU) and Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) have made a desperate attempt to advance coal exports to China and India by proposing to build shipping terminals on the West Coast but they have been met by a solid wall of environmentalist saying no way and those efforts seem doomed (although the companies are still burning maybe the last of their cash to try to overcome their fierce opposition). And on a visit to China not so long ago, President Obama reached an agreement with the Chinese to curb coal imports there.

It’s getting so coal finally has no where to turn.

And the stocks show it (see the panel below). These stocks not only have little to no chance for investment growth, they are in fact risks to all shareholder equity as more and more of them, like Patriot Coal and James River Coal and Walter Energy, go bankrupt.

The time has come it appears to wave goodbye to the coal boys and breathe easier all over the world.

(Click on chart for a larger image)

coal_2015-08-03_1910

ELECTION REFLECTIONS – Bush, Obama, Gold, Oil and the US Dollar

The late great Ed Hart of the old Financial News Network used to say in the financial markets “we will know everything in the fullness of time.”  Well, the “fullness of time” has never been more pointed than looking back at inflection points in the U.S. Dollar as it correlates with Gold and Oil and conveniently with the administrations of Presidents..

Clearly, (on the chart below) the Bush administration was good for gold and oil (any surprise there?) and horrible for the US dollar (currency being a vote by the world on one’s country every day).

Bush’s 2002 State of Union “Axis of Evil” was to the day the exact last high for the dollar and the launch of the commodities as if the whole world heard those words and bolted the U.S. currency in alarm.

By contrast, the election of Barack Obama stopped the dollar’s decline. On a dime, so to speak… And ended the extreme uncertainties of the Mideast oil supplies, crashing the price from its Bush era $140 highs to around $50 a barrel now.

That chop-chop in the dollar during subsequent years likely was a result of the political conflicts between the U.S. President and an obstructionist Republican Congress (to the point of threatening a default on US debt), and its strength now reflects Obama’s ability to do what he wants (remarkably and ironically a benefit of being a lame duck).

One suspects the current oil drop, not only is a result of the strong Obama dollar but also is in anticipation of the the Iran nuclear deal.  With international sanctions being lifted, Iran’s oil will increase supply worldwide.

History, history – in other words, as Ed Hard would say, the fullness of time.

(click on chart for a larger image)

ELECION_REFLECTIONS_2015-07-23_1107