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

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 lower today making it today's featured Metals & Mining laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $4.49 (-10.5%) to $38.20 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 14.5 million shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.5 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $38.17-$40.96 after having opened the day at $40.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.69. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: Atlatsa Resources ( ATL), down 10.8%, Entree Gold ( EGI), down 10.2%, Polymet Mining ( PLM), down 4.8%, and Avino Silver & Gold Mines ( ASM), down 4%.
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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 $6.21 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.4, 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 30.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are five analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 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 positive front, Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), up 11.8%, Westmoreland Coal ( WLB), up 11.4%, Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM), up 9.1%, and Goldcorp ( GG), up 6.7%, were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Vale ( VALE) being today's featured metals & mining industry leader.

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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