Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, February 15, 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 estimate of analysts is for net income of $1.85 per share, a decline of 34.4% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $2.86. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from $2.73 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 59% versus last year to $11.91.

Last quarter, the company came in at profit of $4.54 per share against a mean estimate of net income of $3.67 per share, beating estimates after missing them in the previous quarter. In the second quarter, it missed forecasts by 72 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts predict a rise of 14.8% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $1.63 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are optimistic about this stock, with 11 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and five rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 98.2% to $589.5 million ($4.07 a share) from $297.4 million ($2.18 a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 59.2% to $2.14 billion from $1.35 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 62%, with the biggest boost coming in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 73.6% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has seen net income rise in three consecutive quarters. Net income rose 56.4% in the second quarter and more than fourfold in the first quarter.

Stock Price Performance: Between December 12, 2011 and February 9, 2012, the stock price had risen $9.11 (13.6%), from $67.12 to $76.23. 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% (+$10.54) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between September 15, 2011 and September 22, 2011 when shares fell for six straight days, dropping 30.6% (-$24.21) over that span.

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

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