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CLF: Why Jim Cramer Is Worried about This ‘Best-in-Show’ Stock

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Jan. 11 2019, Updated 8:07 a.m. ET

Jim Cramer: CLF is ‘Best-in-Show’ company

Yesterday, Jim Cramer, the Mad Money host, answered caller’s questions regarding Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) stock. He said, “The company’s best in show, but I’ve got to tell you, the stock is not going to be a good stock if the Fed tightens again. I don’t think they’re going to in the near future, but I’ve got to tell you, it makes me nervous.”

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Fed’s rate hike chances bleak

On January 4, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed could be more patient with its policy stance if needed. Yesterday, he again stressed that the Fed could be patient while approving further hikes, as it continues to monitor the gauges of the US economy (SPY). These two back-to-back appearances from the Fed chair with dovish statements have assured markets that the Fed will not take any surprise action on rate hikes. The markets have been quite relieved with this stance from the Fed as well as from the recently concluded US-China trade talks.

Cleveland-Cliffs’ fundamentals

While Cleveland-Cliffs stock rose by 6.7% in 2018, it plunged 39% in the last quarter alone. This, however, had more to do with the overall risk-off sentiment and the slowdown concerns of China rather than anything related to CLF itself. As compared to CLF’s positive price action, its US peers (DIA) (IVV), AK Steel (AKS), U.S. Steel (X), ArcelorMittal (MT), Steel Dynamics (STLD), and Nucor (NUE) reported returns of -60%, -48%, -36%, -30%, and -18%, respectively, for 2018.

Cleveland-Cliffs’ fundamentals have been improving since its new management took over in 2014. Its non-core assets have sold off with the seaborne operations being the last, which took a lot of volatility out of the stock. Its debt concerns have been laid to rest. Moreover, the company is solidly marching on its growth path with the ongoing construction of an HBI (hot briquetted iron) plant. As we argued in Why Now Might Be a Good Time to Look Again at Cleveland-Cliffs, CLF is attractively valued based on its multiple relative to its peers and its historical valuation.

See Revisiting the Case: How Does Cleveland-Cliffs Look Now? for an in-depth analysis of CLF’s fundamentals and valuations.

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