Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Cleveland-Cliffs remains focused on de-leveraging its balance sheet. It should also gain from major supply deals and an expected rise in steel demand in the United States. Cleveland-Cliffs is also committed to increasing shareholder returns through dividends and share buybacks. However, Cleveland-Cliffs is faced with a challenging operating environment and pricing headwinds. The company has also cut its profit outlook for 2017 factoring in lower expected iron ore pricing. Demand for iron ore in China also remain soft. The company has also underperformed the industry it belongs to year to date.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently issued reports on CLF. FBR & Co set a $10.00 price target on Cliffs Natural Resources and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Saturday, June 17th. BidaskClub raised Cliffs Natural Resources from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a market perform rating and set a $7.00 price target on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Jefferies Group LLC initiated coverage on Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Friday, July 7th. They set a buy rating and a $9.00 price target for the company. Finally, Axiom Securities reaffirmed a sell rating on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a report on Thursday, July 13th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $9.29.

Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) traded down 2.875% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $7.129. 5,156,431 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $7.56 and a 200 day moving average price of $7.15. Cliffs Natural Resources has a 12-month low of $4.91 and a 12-month high of $12.37. The company has a market capitalization of $2.11 billion, a PE ratio of 32.702 and a beta of 1.65.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The mining company reported $0.26 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.08. Cliffs Natural Resources had a negative return on equity of 13.83% and a net margin of 2.44%. The business had revenue of $569.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $485.93 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.07 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 14.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Cliffs Natural Resources will post $0.96 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, Chairman Lourenco Goncalves bought 100,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 15th. The stock was bought at an average price of $7.11 per share, with a total value of $711,000.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the chairman now owns 3,586,970 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $25,503,356.70. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 0.46% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of CLF. Nuveen Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Cliffs Natural Resources by 1.2% during the first quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 13,974 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 164 shares in the last quarter. Comerica Bank lifted its holdings in shares of Cliffs Natural Resources by 49.5% during the second quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 15,493 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 5,129 shares in the last quarter. Invictus RG acquired a new stake in shares of Cliffs Natural Resources during the first quarter worth $121,000. ARP Americas LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Cliffs Natural Resources by 72.5% during the second quarter. ARP Americas LLC now owns 17,600 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $122,000 after buying an additional 7,400 shares in the last quarter. Finally, D.A. Davidson & CO. lifted its holdings in shares of Cliffs Natural Resources by 486.8% during the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 18,597 shares of the mining company’s stock worth $128,000 after buying an additional 15,428 shares in the last quarter. 58.28% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Cliffs Natural Resources Company Profile

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, formerly 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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF)

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