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Peabody Energy Corporation (BTU) & Other Coal Stocks Gain Ground Amid Supreme Court Ruling; Do Hedge Funds Love Coal Stocks?

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As Dow Jones and S&P 500 Indices plunged on Monday amid concerns over Greece, a group of companies has enjoyed strong gains. The Dow Jones Coal Index inched up by more than 0.1% in Intraday trading, as the Supreme Court ruled against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the rules that restrict the emissions of mercury and other air pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants. In this way, several stocks jumped on the back of the news, including Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU)Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT), and Arch Coal Inc (NYSE:ACI). Let’s see what the hedge funds’ insight on these stocks is, and how they benefitted from the gains registered by these companies.

Mining Tunnel Coal

We pay attention to hedge funds’ moves because our research has shown that hedge funds are extremely talented at picking stocks on the long side of their portfolios. It is true that hedge fund investors have been underperforming the market in recent years. However, this was mainly because hedge funds’ short stock picks lost a ton of money during the bull market that started in March 2009. Hedge fund investors also paid an arm and a leg for the services that they received. We have been tracking the performance of hedge funds’ 15 most popular stock picks in real time since the end of August 2012. These stocks have returned 142% since then and outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 84 percentage points (see the details here). That’s why we believe it is important to pay attention to hedge fund sentiment; we also don’t like paying huge fees.

Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) is the largest in terms of market cap from the lot and its stock is up by almost 10% on Monday so far. The appreciation of the stock is not surprising, since Peabody is engaged in mining of thermal coal, which is then sold to energy plants, as well as metallurgical coal to industrial customers. Despite the today’s gain, the stock of Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) has lost 70% since the beginning of the year, which put a strain on hedge funds’ sentiment. As of the end of March, a total of 19 investors, among those we track, disclosed long positions in Peabody Energy, down from 29 a quarter earlier. However, the aggregate value of these funds’ holdings, has not decreased so significantly – to $225.96 million from $239.86 million. One of the main reasons for that is the new stake initiated by Dmitry Balyasny‘s Balyasny Asset Management, which contained 27.31 million shares, worth $134.34 million at the end of March. In addition, many of the top shareholders in our list have substantially increased their stakes in Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) during the first three months of the year. Among them are funds managed by billionaires Ken Griffin and Jim Simons. However, billionaire Israel Englander‘s Millennium Management has been betting against Peabody, as it owns a substantial ‘Put’ position underlying shares of the company.

Arch Coal Inc (NYSE:ACI) and Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT) are both nano-cap companies with market caps of $84 million and $15 million respectively. Both stocks registered gains north of 10% on Monday, although in year-to-date terms, both stocks are down by more than 70%.

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