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What Does Cliffs Natural Resources’s Valuation Multiple Suggest?

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Valuation multiple

Valuation multiples are key metrics that investors should consider carefully. With the help of relative valuations, you can compare a company’s valuation with its closest peers’ valuations. There are several valuation metrics you can use.

For companies in cyclical industries such as steel and mining, the EV-to-EBITDA[1. enterprise value to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization] multiple is the preferred valuation metric. The forward EV-to-EBITDA multiple tells us how a company is valued for each dollar of EBITDA.

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Cliffs Natural Resources’s valuation

The chart above shows the forward EV-to-EBITDA multiples of various steel companies, some of which have captive iron ore mines. The valuation multiples of these major players have increased in the last few months. This comes on the back of price increases following Donald Trump’s presidential win. Companies such as U.S. Steel (X), Nucor (NUE), Steel Dynamics (STLD), and AK Steel (AKS) are trading at premiums to their long-term trading multiples.

Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) is trading at a forward EV-to-EBITDA multiple of 13.2x, compared to its last-five-year average of 9.6x. Its stock price has risen 40% in the last month, while analyst upgrades have not kept pace. Most of the positives, for the time being, seem to be priced into the stock.

Other catalysts

US (VTI) steel prices and seaborne iron ore prices are expected to remain the major drivers of Cliffs Cliffs Natural Resources’s valuation going forward. You should watch CLF’s 4Q16 results for any further updates regarding debt reduction or ventures into the direct reduced iron business. These could act as positive catalysts for the company’s valuation.

Meanwhile, keep checking in with Market Realist’s Iron Ore page for the latest updates.

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