updated 5/10/2010 1:38:24 PM ET 2010-05-10T17:38:24

Coal and natural gas company Consol Energy Inc. said Monday it has entered a new four-year, $1.5 billion senior secured credit agreement.

Consol said the agreement went into effect May 7, replacing an older $1 billion credit facility. It said the move increases its financial flexibility.

Proceeds from the revolving credit facility will be used for general corporate purposes, the company said.

As the markets rallied, Consol shares rose $2.54, or 6.6 percent, to $40.88 in afternoon trading.

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