For those looking for an easy answer as to what White House support means for an industry, just check out at the performance of the exchange traded funds for coal, Market Vectors Coal (NYSE: KOL), and natural gas, United States Natural Gas (NYSE: UNG).
Over the last year of market action, United States Natural Gas is up nearly 30 percent (chart below). By contrast, for the same period, Market Vectors Coal has fallen nearly 28 percent. It is much the same story for 2014: United States Natural Gas has risen more than 17 percent since the first of the year, with Market Vectors Coal down over 9 percent. The exchange traded fund for oil, United States Oil (NYSE: USO), is also down for the last 52 weeks and the new year.
While much of the rise in the price of United States Natural Gas can be attributed to the record cold weather that has demand soaring, the “War on Coal” from The White House has done a great deal of damage to the coal sector.
That state of affairs promises to continue. The White House has come out very strongly in support of the natural gas industry. It is a much cleaner burn than coal. Natural gas is much easier on the environment. As a result, more utilities are using natural gas as a fuel source to provide electricity.
The future for natural gas, coal, and oil is bullish.
All reports predict a major increase in the global demand for energy. The great majority of that will be provided by the fossil fuels of oil, coal, and natural gas. Alternative energy sources such as sun and wind power are nowhere near close to meeting mass demand. For investors, coal will not be going out of business. But The White House clearly has the coal industry in disfavor. But that could make a coal a long term buy as it is advantages over natural gas that are very significant (no pipelines needed).