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

According to Zacks, “Cliffs remains focused on de-leveraging its balance sheet and improving its cost structure. It should also gain from recent supply deals and an expected rise in steel demand in the U.S. However, the company remains exposed to a challenging operating environment and pricing headwinds. Iron ore prices are expected to remain under pressure in the second half of 2017 due to rising global supplies. Cliffs has also cut its profit outlook for 2017 due to lower expected iron ore pricing. Moreover, demand for iron ore remains soft in China given a sluggish economy. Cliffs has also underperformed the Zacks categorized Mining-Iron industry over the past six months.”

CLF has been the topic of several other reports. Axiom Securities restated a “sell” rating on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Thursday, July 13th. FBR & Co set a $10.00 price objective on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. Jefferies Group LLC initiated coverage on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Friday, July 7th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $9.00 price objective on the stock. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Cliffs Natural Resources from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Finally, Cowen and Company restated a “market perform” rating and issued a $7.00 price objective on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. Cliffs Natural Resources presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $8.50.

Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE CLF) traded down 3.036% during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $7.505. 7,356,557 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $6.54 and its 200-day moving average price is $7.98. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.22 billion, a PE ratio of 43.889 and a beta of 1.66. Cliffs Natural Resources has a 12-month low of $4.91 and a 12-month high of $12.37.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The mining company reported ($0.11) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.16 by $0.27. Cliffs Natural Resources had a net margin of 1.68% and a negative return on equity of 5.79%. The firm had revenue of $461.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $412.71 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.62 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 51.1% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Cliffs Natural Resources will post $0.91 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, Chairman Lourenco Goncalves bought 200,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $6.31 per share, with a total value of $1,262,000.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 2,855,296 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $18,016,917.76. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director John T. Baldwin bought 6,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 3rd. The stock was bought at an average cost of $6.32 per share, for a total transaction of $37,920.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 87,991 shares in the company, valued at $556,103.12. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders purchased a total of 215,250 shares of company stock worth $1,361,283 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.46% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. IFP Advisors Inc increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 50.0% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 35,266 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $290,000 after buying an additional 11,755 shares during the period. Russell Investments Group Ltd. increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 784.5% in the first quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 452,176 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $3,713,000 after buying an additional 401,056 shares during the period. Strs Ohio increased its position in Cliffs Natural Resources by 103.8% in the first quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 15,900 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $130,000 after buying an additional 8,100 shares during the period. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC bought a new position in Cliffs Natural Resources during the first quarter worth approximately $476,000. Finally, Acadian Asset Management LLC bought a new position in Cliffs Natural Resources during the first quarter worth approximately $2,460,000. 66.66% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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