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 down 1%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $1.44 (-6.6%) to $20.33 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 21.8 million shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.8 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.06-$21.54 after having opened the day at $21.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.77. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: Sutor Technology Group ( SUTR), down 13.1%, Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 9.4%, China Gerui Advanced Materials Group ( CHOP), down 7.7%, and China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources ( SHZ), down 7.5%.
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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 $3.15 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 43.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are two analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cliffs Natural Resources as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the positive front, Polymet Mining ( PLM), up 6.2%, Platinum Group Metal ( PLG), up 5.8%, Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), up 5.7%, and Almaden Minerals ( AAU), up 5.2%, were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Kinross Gold Corporation ( KGC) 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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