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$14.5 billion iron ore producer
Cliffs Natural Resources(CLF - Get Report) is one of the biggest names in the game, supplying approximately half of the smelting demand in the U.S. and Canada. Shareholders have been well rewarded year-to-date in 2011 -- shares have rallied nearly 30% since the first trading day of January. Thanks to last week's 100% dividend hike, that rate of return just got another bump higher.
Cliffs has benefited immensely from the commodity boom that's trickled down to nearly all of the hard commodities in the last few years. As institutional and retail investors alike seek out alternative asset classes to pour capital into, options like iron ore and coal are getting bid up to Cliffs' benefit. That's pretty fortuitous timing given the slowing demand brought on by the recession in the short-term.
Profit margins have been expanding consistently over the past few years, giving the firm more than adequate cash to cover its minimal debt service costs in 2011. While this firm's 1.12% yield hardly qualifies it as a dividend stock, investors shouldn't rule out this fast-growing iron play.
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