If Mitt Romney wins Election 2012, it'll be a rare piece of positive news for the coal industry, and a boost for beaten down coal stocks.
During last week's presidential debate, Romney called attention to the stark differences between himself and U.S. President Barack Obama on coal policy.
"By the way, I like coal," Romney said. "I'm going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies."
That was enough to grab the attention of investors. Just about every coal stock went up at least 4% the day after the debate, and several were up more than 5%.
It was a much needed shot in the arm for a sector that had been down 29% on the year.
"It's amazing what 15 words about coal in a presidential debate can do for the stocks," Michael Dudas of Sterne Agee told Reuters. "These stocks have been volatile, but you can't discount what a man running for president said about coal. Call it the Romney rally."
Coal stocks reacted strongly to Romney's industry-friendly comments because President Obama's energy policies have been tough on a sector already under pressure from cheap natural gas prices.
That's why Romney, in his campaign speeches, frequently refers to these policies as a "war on coal."