Chris Lau, Kapitall: Analysts have begun upgrading the miner Cliffs Natural Resources, but does this mean the firm has rebounded?
Miners and those who rely on them for resources have experienced significant volatility this year. From swings in the
price of gold
to political change in
, mining stocks can be easily influenced by a variety of factors beyond their control.
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Take the price of iron. Downward pressure on iron ore prices resumed in early September – with rates at
$137.10 for Tianjin port deliveries earlier this month - jeopardizing the rebound of mines and miners alike. Despite the setback, the high inventory for the metal is declining steadily, thanks in part to China.
At a macroeconomic level, basic miners could benefit from the insistence of monetary authorities in the United States to continue with stimulus efforts.
Cliffs Natural Resources (
is one of many companies investors could add to their watch list.
Short float is a whopping 32.3% on shares of Cliffs. Bears are betting that the
for Bloom Lake Phase II and operations in Wabush are not under enough constraint. Another extended drop in iron ore prices could put pressure on the company’s balance sheet. And debt can also be seen as a worry. Long term debt rose from $525 million in fiscal 2009 to $3.96 billion by fiscal 2012. But Cliffs did manage to reduce its debt to $3.3 billion in the quarter ending June 2013.
Cliffs is much smaller than peers like
BHP Billiton (
in terms of market capitalization. Vale wants restrictions in China for supersized cargo ships lightened. Investment firm JPMorgan set a $25 price target for the company citing cost-cutting and higher iron ore prices as reasons to be positive.
Click on the interactive chart below to see data over time. Sourced from Zacks Investment Research.
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