Peabody Energy falls after taking larger loss and cutting its 2015 coal sales forecast

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ST. LOUIS — Coal miner Peabody Energy Corp. cut its sales forecast Thursday after posting a bigger loss in the first quarter, and its shares fell more than 7 percent.

The world's largest private-sector coal producer cut its annual sales estimate by 10 million tons of coal because it expects lower sales in the U.S. The St. Louis company reported a bigger loss than Wall Street expected for its first quarter and its revenue came up short of analyst estimates.

Demand and prices for coal have fallen over the last few years because the low price of natural gas has caused more and more power companies to use natural gas as their energy source instead of coal. The U.S. government is looking to cut carbon dioxide emissions, which hurt the domestic outlook for coal, and some coal-exporting countries have ramped up production, leading to fewer exports from the U.S.

The company said it lost $176.6 million, or 65 cents per share, in the first quarter. Excluding costs from discontinued operations Peabody lost 62 cents per share. That figure includes a one-time charge of 23 cents per share connected to the refinancing of some of the company's debt. Revenue fell 5 percent to $1.54 billion.

Peabody Energy sold 60.6 million tons of coal in the first quarter, down 1 percent from a year ago.

Analysts had forecast a loss of 33 cents per share on $1.61 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Peabody Energy now expects to sell 180 million to 190 million tons of coal in the U.S. this year, and 235 million to 255 million tons overall. Both are 10 million tons below its previous estimates.

The company expects a loss of 49 cents to 59 cents per share in the second quarter. According to FactSet, analysts expect a loss of 34 cents per share, on average.

Shares of Peabody Energy declined 37 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $4.50. The stock has fallen 74 percent over the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on BTU at http://www.zacks.com/ap/BTU

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Keywords: Peabody Energy, Earnings Report

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