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Sector Snap: Coal mining stocks trade lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of coal companies fell Wednesday on concerns about the state of the global economy and energy usage.

Oil and commodity prices have slumped over the last few days after China reported slower-than-expected growth in the first quarter. On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund lowered its 2013 outlook for global economic growth.

China is the biggest producer and consumer of coal, and there are signs that the country may need less coal to generate power or for construction. Weaker global economic growth would also mean less demand and lower prices for coal and other fuels.

And on Tuesday CSX, one of the biggest freight railroads in the U.S., said it hauled fewer carloads of coal in the first quarter than it did a year ago, as utilities used more natural gas to power generators.

In afternoon trading, amid a sell-off in the broader market, shares of Alpha Natural Resources lost 35 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $6.81. Arch Coal Inc. stock fell 14 cents, or 3 percent, to $4.52. Walter Energy Inc. slumped by $1.70, or 8.3 percent, to $18.81. Peabody Energy Corp. declined 71 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $18.68. James River Coal Co. bucked the trend, rising 5 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $1.61.