Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Stock Hold Recommendation Reiterated (CLF)

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.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C- . 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.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 4.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC swung to a loss, reporting -$6.59 versus $11.34 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.63 versus -$6.59).
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 72.30%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 1081.35% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $239.00 million or 67.83% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 972.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $185.40 million to -$1,618.30 million.

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 has a market cap of $2.71 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are down 50.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Cliffs Natural Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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