This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Risks Rising for Iron Ore Stocks

Stocks in this article: CLF FCX

Chris Lau, Kapitall: Weakness in China's economy means less iron imports. Iron ore stocks may suffer from falling prices.

China's 18% export decline shocked the market. A steep sell-off in companies reliant on iron ore prices followed. The resource sector is not for the faint of heart. It is in a bear phase due to ongoing weakness in China‚Äôs economy, risks of a global slowdown, and fears that interest rates will rise.

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) are two companies that are impacted by iron ore prices. Cliffs is falling faster than other iron ore plays because over the years it bought mines in anticipation of stronger demand from China. Conversely, Freeport diversified from the metal, and is now an oil and gas exploration play. Freeport took on more debt, but expects to grow revenues in the next few years.

Risk for Cliffs could accelerate

Leverage is either good or bad, depending on product demand. When iron ore demand was strong, leveraging assets through debt accumulation worked favorably. Weak Chinese exports could accelerate the cost to finance debt. If iron ore prices keep dropping, Cliffs should be expected to generate much lower profits. Still, China could devalue its yuan or introduce a stimulus. This would benefit Cliffs.

Wait for a bottom

With economic uncertainty in China rising daily, investors should be cautious with Cliffs. It would be better to wait for the stock to bottom first. Evidence that iron ore prices are stabilizing would also support a more positive view for Cliffs.

 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

 

1. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. ( CLF): Produces iron ore pellets, lump and fines iron ore, and metallurgical coal products. Market cap at $3.27B, most recent closing price at $21.34.

 

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,678.70 +6.10 0.03%
S&P 500 2,057.09 +5.27 0.26%
NASDAQ 4,771.7630 +13.8840 0.29%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs