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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF): Today's Featured Metals & Mining Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF) pushed the Metals & Mining industry higher today making it today's featured metals & mining winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources rose 51 cents (1.4%) to $38.36 on average volume. Throughout the day, 5.3 million shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $37.84-$38.78 after having opened the day at $38.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.85. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that increased today were: Primero Mining ( PPP), up 36.5%, Minco Gold Corporation ( MGH), up 7.6%, Ur-Energy ( URG), up 6.3%, and North American Palladium ( PAL), up 4.2%.

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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a mining and natural resources company, engages in the production of iron ore pellets, fines and lump ore, and metallurgical coal. Cliffs Natural Resources has a market cap of $5.4 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.8, equal to the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 39.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cliffs Natural Resources as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and deteriorating net income.

On the negative front, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 18.5%, Atlatsa Resources ( ATL), down 10.1%, Almaden Minerals ( AAU), down 5.7%, and Richmont Mines ( RIC), down 4.9%, were all laggards within the metals & mining industry with Eldorado Gold ( EGO) being today's metals & mining industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the metals & mining industry could consider SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF ( XME) while those bearish on the metals & mining industry could consider PowerShares DB Base Metals Sht ETN ( BOS).

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