Why Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) Stock Is Down Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources  (CLF) dropped Thursday as iron ore prices continued to decline.

Iron ore prices fell Thursday to $87.30 a ton, the lowest level since $86.70 on Sept. 5, 2012. Steel demand in China has fallen because of a weaker economy and lower housing sales, which has helped push down the iron ore prices, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The stock was down 6.11% to $15.05 at 3:19 p.m. More than 10.3 million shares had changed hands, compared to the average volume of 5,582,070.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC as a "sell" with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC (CLF) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The share price of CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC has not done very well: it is down 23.58% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 92.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $146.00 million to $10.90 million.
  • The gross profit margin for CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC is rather low; currently it is at 21.56%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.99% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$41.90 million or 110.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • CLF's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that CLF's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.57 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CLF Ratings Report

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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.

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