ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The $175.2 million Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSEArca: KOL) spent the first six months of 2013 in a steady downward spiral. Low natural gas prices, slack emerging markets demand and investors’ preference for resurgent alternative energy stocks conspired to plague KOL and its 34 holdings.

The past three months have been a more positive story for KOL as the ETF has jumped 10.6%, helped by a rebound in emerging markets equities. While the bulk of KOL’s country weight is allocated to developed markets, the ETF does feature a combined 34.3% weight to China, Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand. [Coal ETF Could be Turning Higher]

More upside could be on the way for KOL if one its marquee holdings proceeds with a plan to breakup itself into two companies. Consol Energy (NYSE: CNX) is reportedly mulling that idea in a bid to unlock shareholder value. The company is considering separating its coal and natural gas assets, which include significant acreage in the Marcellus Shale. One idea being floated is a spin-off of the natural gas business into a separate, publicly-traded entity.

“Sum-of-the-parts models from Deutsche Bank, Raymond James, Nomura and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reveal a gap between Consol’s current price and the value of its businesses. The estimates range from $39 a share to $50, reports Tara Lachapelle for Bloomberg.

Consol is KOL’s largest holding with a weight of 8.7%, 140 basis points more than the weight allocated to the ETF’s second-largest holding, China Shenhua Energy.

The idea of a Consol breakup is not new, particularly because the Pennsylvania-based company has acquired gas assets in recent years. In 2010, Consol paid $3.5 billion to Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) for Marcellus and Utica shale acreage. That same year, the company bought the part of CNX Gas it did not already own.

The deal with Dominion brought Consol over 1 trillion cubic feet in reserves and 41 billion cubic feet in annual gas production while beefing up the company’s Marcellus acreage to 750,000, according to Consol’s web site.

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