KOL and its holdings took a hit after demand for metallurgical coal – coal used in production of metals like steel – faltered on slowing growth in China. In May, coal stocks weakened after Stanford University became the first major university to divest from fossil fuel producers perceived as major polluters. [Coal ETF Looks for Post-Election Help]

Arch, Alpha Natural and Walter have bled so much of their market values that the trio combines for barely over 2% of KOL’s weight.

Speculation that some U.S. coal companies, including the KOL holdings mentioned here, are financially imperiled to the point that they will not be in business in a few years comes as electric utilities across the U.S. are reportedly pressing railroad operators to deliver more coal before winter temperatures drop even further.

Market Vectors-Coal ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.