Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimate for Cliffs for the current quarter has been going down of late. The company has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past one year. Moreover, Cliffs is faced with a challenging operating environment and pricing headwinds. The company has also cut its profit outlook for 2017 due to lower expected iron ore pricing. Demand for iron ore in China also remain soft.”

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on CLF. Axiom Securities reissued a “sell” rating on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a research note on Tuesday. ValuEngine lowered shares of Cliffs Natural Resources from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday. BidaskClub lowered shares of Cliffs Natural Resources from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday. FBR & Co raised shares of Cliffs Natural Resources from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and lowered their target price for the company from $11.00 to $10.00 in a research note on Friday, April 28th. Finally, Cowen and Company reissued a “market perform” rating and set a $7.00 target price on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. Cliffs Natural Resources currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $8.50.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE CLF) opened at 7.73 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $6.79 and a 200-day moving average of $7.94. The stock has a market cap of $2.29 billion, a PE ratio of 45.20 and a beta of 1.66. Cliffs Natural Resources has a 1-year low of $4.91 and a 1-year high of $12.37. Cliffs Natural Resources also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Stock investors purchased 1,191 put options on the company. This is an increase of 121% compared to the average daily volume of 538 put options.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The mining company reported ($0.11) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.16 by $0.27. The company had revenue of $461.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $412.71 million. Cliffs Natural Resources had a net margin of 1.68% and a negative return on equity of 5.79%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 51.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.62 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Cliffs Natural Resources will post $0.87 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, Director John T. Baldwin acquired 6,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average price of $6.32 per share, for a total transaction of $37,920.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 87,991 shares in the company, valued at approximately $556,103.12. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Chairman Lourenco Goncalves acquired 200,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 3rd. The shares were bought at an average price of $6.31 per share, for a total transaction of $1,262,000.00. Following the acquisition, the chairman now owns 2,855,296 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,016,917.76. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired 215,250 shares of company stock valued at $1,361,283 over the last quarter. 0.46% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of CLF. Nuveen Asset Management LLC increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 1.2% in the first quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 13,974 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 164 shares during the period. Montgomery Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 3.2% in the first quarter. Montgomery Investment Management Inc. now owns 48,800 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $400,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares during the period. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 16.1% in the first quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. now owns 17,871 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $147,000 after buying an additional 2,480 shares during the period. Driehaus Capital Management LLC increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 13.3% in the first quarter. Driehaus Capital Management LLC now owns 31,217 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $256,000 after buying an additional 3,668 shares during the period. Finally, Sei Investments Co. increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 28.8% in the first quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 17,819 shares of the mining company’s stock valued at $146,000 after buying an additional 3,980 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 66.64% of the company’s stock.

Cliffs Natural Resources Company Profile

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc is a mining and natural resources company. The Company is a supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from its mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota. The Company’s segments include U.S. Iron Ore and Asia Pacific Iron Ore. The Company is a producer of iron ore pellets, primarily selling production from U.S.

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Analyst Recommendations for Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF)

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