John Ransom

Welcome to John Ransom’s Stocks in the News where the headlines meet the trendlines:

Market closed 2/17/2014- Headlines only

Stock number one:

Wave of Coal Retirements Coming by 2016--Wall Street Cheat Sheet

The Energy Information Agency projects in its Annual Energy Outlook 2014 that coal retirements will be much higher than what power companies are reporting. EIA predicts that around 60 GW of coal capacity will be shuttered by 2020, which would account for about one-fifth of the existing 310 GW of coal-fired capacity. But about 90 percent of those retirements would come before 2016 because new limits on mercury take effect in 2015 (with a possible one-year extension allowed), which will require power plant operators to install equipment to limit emissions of mercury, acid gases, and toxic metals. This pollution control technology is too expensive in many cases, forcing operators to shut the plants down instead.

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Stock number two:

Detroit bankruptcy bond fight a watershed for municipal market-- Reuters

The city of Detroit's effort to declare some of its general obligation bonds as unsecured debt will be challenged in bankruptcy court Wednesday in what could be a precedent-setting turn in the largest-ever municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The issue in front of federal bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is whether a pledge of Detroit tax revenue to pay off the voter-approved bond issues is a binding obligation under Michigan law, as argued by bond insurers in two lawsuits, or merely a promise.

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Stock number three:

Oil price above $100 on US heating fuel demand-- Associated Press

The price of oil extended gains above $100 a barrel Monday as the cold weather in the United States increased demand for heating fuels and solid Chinese credit numbers eased concerns over the world's number 2 economy.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 49 cents to $100.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the Nymex contract fell 5 cents to close at $100.30.

"The ongoing cold weather in the U.S. is continuing to lend support to energy prices," analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt said in a note to clients.

They added that prices are likely to correct, possibly as much as several dollars, once the cold weather abates, as happened at the start of last year.

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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