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To understand the big challenge facing U.S. coal miners, look no further than Cloud Peak Energy Inc. The company, which plunged the most in 15 months Friday, extracts all of its coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.Arch has climbed about 30 percent in the past 10 months and Peabody has gained more than 70 percent in the 10 months.Cloud Peak, which offers only thermal coal, is down almost 20 percent in the last 10 months. Foresight Energy LP is down more than 30 percent and Alliance Resource Partners LP, which sells primarily thermal coal, is down 17 percent.Against that backdrop, Cloud Peak Thursday posted fourth-quarter adjusted Ebitda of $19 million, missing the $25.3 million average of seven analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
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