Why Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) Is Up Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cliffs Natural Resources  (CLF) was rising 4.98% to $22.99 on Friday morning after the coal mining company reported fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.22, which smashed the 79 cents a share that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected. Fourth-quarter sales of $1.52 billion also beat consensus estimates.

Casablanca Capital, the fourth-largest shareholder in the company, has been calling for Cliffs to spin off its foreign assets and double its dividends. Casablanca announced earlier this week that it would support Lourenco Goncalvez to be the new CEO of Cliffs, but the company announced Thursday that Gary Halverson, who had served as the company's Chief Operating Officer since November, would take over as CEO, effective immediately.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC (CLF) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. 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."

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