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 0.4%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $0.80 (-2.9%) to $26.43 on average volume. Throughout the day, 8,721,947 shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,551,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $26.26-$27.46 after having opened the day at $27.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.23. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: Quest Rare Minerals ( QRM), down 9.6%, Oxford Resource Partners ( OXF), down 9.6%, Richmont Mines ( RIC), down 8.9% and Quaterra Resources ( QMM), down 6.1%.

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 $4.2 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 28.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, 2 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 increase in net income, revenue growth and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

On the positive front, Augusta Resource Corporation ( AZC), up 90.5%, Silver Bull Resources ( SVBL), up 9.1%, Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited ADR rep ( YZC), up 9.1% and USEC ( USU), up 6.6% , were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Molycorp ( MCP) 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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