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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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 2.1%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $0.79 (-3.2%) to $23.75 on average volume. Throughout the day, 10,974,155 shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9,608,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $23.05-$24.03 after having opened the day at $23.84 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.54. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: Ossen Innovation ( OSN), down 10.9%, Ur-Energy ( URG), down 8.6%, China Natural Resources ( CHNR), down 7.2% and Molycorp ( MCP), down 6.8%.

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 $3.7 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 36.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 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, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), up 21.5%, Golden Star Resources ( GSS), up 19.5%, Vista Gold Corporation ( VGZ), up 17.4% and Golden Minerals ( AUMN), up 17.1% , were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) 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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