* Uncertainty over nuclear's future cited
* Coal stock index rises 3.8 pct
(Adds more analyst comment, stock moves)
NEW YORK, March 17 Coal mining shares rose on
Thursday amid uncertainty over the future of nuclear power as
Japan races to avert a meltdown at a power plant crippled by
last week's earthquake and tsunami.
In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Consol
Energy (CNX.N) was up 4.9 percent at $54.96 and Alpha Natural
Resources ANR.N rose 4.3 percent to $55.17. Peabody Energy
BTU.N was 3.6 percent higher at $70.05, Massey Energy MEE.N
was up 3.9 percent at $63.18 and Arch Coal (ACI.N) was 2.2
percent higher at $34.91.
The Dow Jones index of coal company stocks .DJUSCL rose
"Long term and short term, coal generation wins by
default," said Stephen Doyle, who runs Doyle Trading
Consultants, which specializes in coal.
"The backlash from the (Japan) catastrophe will be huge and
at the very least will result in escalated cost estimates that
might make nuclear generation as high as electricity from wind
and solar." Thermal, or steam coal, is used to power
electricity generating plants.
Analyst Bill Burns of Johnson Rice & Co noted the broad
market was higher. "Energy stocks all look pretty strong."
Asked if investors were switching to coal from nuclear
because of events in Japan, he said: "There is a little
Following the crippling of the Fukushima nuclear plant in
Japan, Germany has ordered the closure of all nuclear plants
that began operating before 1980 for at least three months so
they could undergo safety checks.
(Reporting by Steve James; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Bernard