Stocks In News: Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF); Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) And Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX)

Boston, MA, 02/24/2014 – Experts believe that Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) might not be raising its dividend payouts in the near term. The belief is based on several factors, two prominent among which are, the weak iron ore and met coal prices and the other being the dull performance exhibited by the Bloom Lake operations. While the company has declined to agree with the thoughts of its investor Casablanca Capital’s proposal for a breakup of U.S. operations from that of the International operations, the company is looking at building its cash position strong. In this direction, Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) has issued a note to its shareholders mentioning the reduction in net debt as its first priority, followed by scaling down of unprofitable operations in Canada.

Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB) reported a better fourth quarter, the company’s earnings per share came at $0.22 per share, beating the market consensus of $0.21 per share. Revenue too came $40 million higher than the estimates at $1.66 billion. For the full year 2013, earnings per share declined 23.2% year-over-year to $1.45 per share, while revenues also decreased 8.7% to $6.66 billion. Lower production on account of closed Geismer olefins plant resulted in the downcast figures for the quarter. The plant in not expected to be operational until mid-2014. Additionally, lower natural gas liquids (NGLs) margins and higher operating costs from the Northeast G&P segment also escalated the pressure.

As per Reuter’s report, Indonesia’s Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat told reporters that the U.S. copper and gold producer, Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) will soon resume the exports of copper concentrate. Freeport, which is a major producer of Indonesia’s copper, along with other miners have stopped the exports on account of a dispute, which emerged from the government’s mining tax law outlined in Jan.Hidayat said that the government will consider relaxing tax norms on exports after Freeport builds a smelter there. Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) could not be reached for a comment.

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