Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

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S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Cliffs Natural Resources is an international mining company that operates primarily in North America and Australia.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is for profit of $1.15 per share, a decline of 63% from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $2.21. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from $1.21 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 20.6% versus last year to $9.32.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company fell short of estimates by 87 cents, coming in at net income of $1.42 per share against a mean estimate of profit of $1.54. The company topped expectations in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

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Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock, with 11 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and four rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, profit fell 49.5% to $198.5 million ($1.36 a share) from $393.3 million ($2.89 a share) the year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose 16.7% to $1.66 billion from $1.42 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 47.8%, with the biggest boost coming in the first quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 62.6% from the year earlier quarter.

The decrease in profit in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year broke a streak of three consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. Net income rose 98.2% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, 56.4% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year and more than fourfold in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.

Stock Price Performance: Between January 24, 2012 and April 19, 2012, the stock price fell $5.27 (-7.2%), from $73.62 to $68.35. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between June 22, 2011 and July 5, 2011, when shares rose for nine straight days, increasing 12.6% (+$10.50) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between February 8, 2012 and February 22, 2012 when shares fell for 10 straight days, dropping 13.8% (-$10.56) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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