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 0.2%. By the end of trading, Cliffs Natural Resources fell $0.48 (-2.4%) to $19.55 on light volume. Throughout the day, 6,422,199 shares of Cliffs Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,575,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $19.50-$19.78 after having opened the day at $19.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.03. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), down 16.2%, Harsco Corporation ( HSC), down 10.2%, Mechel OAO ( MTL), down 9.5% and Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V ( SIM), down 7.9%.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a mining and natural resources company, produces iron ore and metallurgical coal. Cliffs Natural Resources has a market cap of $3.1 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 23.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Cliffs Natural Resources a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 10 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 reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

On the positive front, North American Palladium ( PAL), up 17.0%, Mines Management ( MGN), up 10.3%, Golden Star Resources ( GSS), up 8.3% and USEC ( USU), up 8.2% , were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Randgold Resources ( GOLD) 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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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