Analyst sees minimal problems from Consol fire

NEW YORK (AP) -- The outage of a Consol Energy coal mine that was evacuated this week should pose a minimal problem for the company, according to Sterne Agee research published Thursday.

Consol crews began pumping water into the mine on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border to douse an underground fire. The workers in the mine when the problem was discovered all evacuated safely Wednesday.

Sterne Agee analyst Michael S. Dudas wrote that the mine had higher costs anyway. Consol has increasaingly valuable natural gas operations, too, Dudas wrote. Consol has low-cost coal and gas assets and a solid balance sheet, he wrote. Dudas left his "Buy" rating and $60 price target in place.

Shares of Consol Energy Inc. closed on Wednesday at $32.44, down 13 cents from their close on Tuesday. They're about in the middle of their 52-week range of $26.41 to $37.39. The company is based in Canonsburg, Pa.