Basic Materials Standout Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF) Making Gains Today

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 Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 2.3%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources rose 55 cents (3%) to $18.73 on average volume. Throughout the day, 14.6 million shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $18.05-$18.94 after having opened the day at $18.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.18. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Genie Energy ( GNE), up 13.4%, Royale Energy ( ROYL), up 9%, Minco Gold Corporation ( MGH), up 8.5%, and Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), up 6.3%.
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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 $2.7 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 52.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are two analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and 10 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 negative front, Tasman Metals ( TAS), down 11.2%, Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX), down 11%, PostRock Energy ( PSTR), down 9.9%, and Gulf Island Fabrication ( GIFI), down 9.2%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with ConocoPhillips ( COP) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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).

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