SNL Energy editors' picks for the best stories for the week ended Dec. 9.
1. Trump's corporate tax cut plans could hold changes for utility earnings
While a sweeping corporate tax cut promised by Republicans under President-elect Donald Trump in 2017 is buoying expectations for a number of industries, utility stocks are mostly down following the presidential election. Large-capitalization utilities serve as bond proxies for many investors, so as the rates on 10-year Treasury notes climbed dramatically following the Nov. 8 election, it is not a surprise that many utility stocks saw a sell-off.
2. Coal offers cautious optimism for Trump at 1st post-election conference
At one of the first industrywide gatherings since Election Day, the coal sector offered cautious optimism about the Trump administration's impact on the industry after years of challenges. Gathered in New York for the 15th Annual Coal Trading Conference on Dec. 5 and 6, industry representatives offered their takes on election results that, admittedly, few saw coming.
3. Army Corps denial puts Dakota Access in hands of Trump, courts
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to not grant an easement for one of the final pieces of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline leaves room for Energy Transfer Partners LP to move the project forward under the incoming Trump administration, analysts said, though a lengthier environmental review would mean developers' next step will likely be court.
4. Falling stockpiles could add volatility to US thermal coal market
With the domestic thermal coal market finally coming back into balance, relief from low coal prices for U.S. producers is on the horizon. But the prospect of increased volatility also looms. "I think one of the best things to happen to coal companies in the last few years is they ran out of cash," Doyle Trading Consultants CEO Hans Daniels told the audience at the 15th annual Coal Trading Conference in Manhattan.
5. With bankruptcy behind it, CEO expects Alpha to be 'fairly major player' in 2017
Alpha Natural Resources Inc. CEO David Stetson said that post-bankruptcy, he can't think of a coal company in Central Appalachia "better positioned than ANR to be successful and sustainable." Alpha emerged from bankruptcy reorganization July 26 with a core of metallurgical coal properties alongside several reclamation obligations.