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Walter Energy ( WLT) pushed the Metals & Mining industry lower today making it today's featured Metals & Mining laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Walter Energy fell $1.82 (-20.0%) to $7.27 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 27,616,167 shares of Walter Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,474,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $7.07-$8.10 after having opened the day at $7.73 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.09. Other companies within the Metals & Mining industry that declined today were: USEC ( USU), down 12.7%, Minco Gold Corporation ( MGH), down 8.1%, Silver Bull Resources ( SVBL), down 7.8% and Solitario Exploration & Royalty ( XPL), down 6.9%.

Walter Energy, Inc. produces and exports metallurgical coal for the steel industry. The company operates through U.S. Operations, and Canadian and U.K. Operations segments. Walter Energy has a market cap of $564.2 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 45.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Walter Energy a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Walter Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and generally high debt management risk.

On the positive front, North American Palladium ( PAL), up 12.4%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), up 8.3%, International Tower Hill Mines ( THM), up 7.1% and Fortuna Silver Mines ( FSM), up 6.7% , were all gainers within the metals & mining industry with Tenaris ( TS) 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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