These Giant Basic Materials Stocks are Attracting Interest After Earnings

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the third quarter. Net income for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. rose to $589.5 million ($4.07 per share) vs. $297.4 million ($2.18 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 98.2% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 59.2% to $2.14 billion from the year earlier quarter. CLF reported adjusted net income of $4.54 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $3.66 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $2.16 billion.

Joseph Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “The execution of our growth and diversification strategy is on track and continues to gain momentum, despite the recent volatility in equity markets. With the combined contributions from our recently acquired Bloom Lake Mine, healthy demand for our products and a favorable pricing environment, we reported the most profitable quarter in our Company’s history. Relatively high seaborne iron ore pricing, increased year-over-year steel production in Asia and a stable market in North America all continue to support our strategically targeted expansion and growth initiatives.”

Competitors to Watch: Vale (NYSE:VALE), ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT), Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. (AMEX:CLM), Anglo American plc (AAUKY), Great Northern Iron Ore Properties (NYSE:GNI), AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE:AKS), BHP Billiton plc (NYSE:BBL), BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP), United States Steel Corp. (NYSE:X), and Mesabi Trust (NYSE:MSB).

Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) reported its results for the third quarter. Net income for Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. fell to $1.05 billion ($1.10 per share) vs. $1.18 billion ($1.24 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 10.6% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue  rose 0.8% to $5.2 billion from the year earlier quarter. FCX fell short of the mean analyst estimate of $1.21 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $4.92 billion.

James R. Moffett, Chairman of the Board, and Richard C. Adkerson, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our third-quarter 2011 results reflect strong operating performance and favorable markets for our products. While the near-term economic outlook is uncertain and has resulted in a decline in copper prices over the last several weeks, the fundamentals of our business are strong and we have a positive view of the long-term market fundamentals. As we address union labor issues at our mines, our strategy continues to focus on effective execution of our operating plans, aggressive cost management and investing in projects with attractive rates of return to enhance our global portfolio of large-scale, long-lived and high-quality assets.”

Competitors to Watch: Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE:SCCO), Rio Tinto plc (NYSE:RIO), Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM), Taseko Mines Limited (AMEX:TGB), HudBay Minerals Inc. (NYSE:HBM), Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), Western Copper Corporation (WRN), Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD), Augusta Resource Corp. (AMEX:AZC), and Vista Gold Corp. (AMEX:VGZ).

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