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

TST Recommends

) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $0.28 (-1.4%) to $20.09 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,466,390 shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12,682,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.08-$20.65 after having opened the day at $20.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.37. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were:

Torch Energy Royalty

(

TRU

), down 42.5%,

BMB Munai

(

BMBM

), down 21.1%,

GeoPetro Resources Company

(

GPR

), down 17.6% and

Cardero Resources Corporation

(

CDY

), down 17.5%.

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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 $3.1 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 47.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Cliffs Natural Resources

as a

hold

. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front,

Great Basin Gold

(

GBG

), down 15.0%,

Kobex Minerals

(

KXM

), down 13.0%,

Barnwell Industries

(

BRN

), down 10.9% and

Midstates Petroleum

(

MPO

), down 10.7% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with

Valero Energy Corporation

(

VLO

) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the basic materials sector could consider

Materials Select Sector SPDR

(

XLB

) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd

(

SBM

).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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