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Miner Cliffs Natural beats on earnings; shares rise

A shuttle conveyor transports taconite rock from the crusher to the Hibbing Taconite Co. pellet manufacturing plant, operated by Cliff's Natural Resources Inc., in Hibbing, Minnesota, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.
Ariana Lindquist | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A shuttle conveyor transports taconite rock from the crusher to the Hibbing Taconite Co. pellet manufacturing plant, operated by Cliff's Natural Resources Inc., in Hibbing, Minnesota, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.

Miner Cliffs Natural Resources reported a drop in second-quarter earnings on Thursday as global iron ore prices slid, but the results topped forecasts. Shares rose more than 3 percent after-hours.

What is Cliffs Natural Resources' stock doing now? (Click here for the latest quote.)

Cliffs, an iron ore and metallurgical coal producer, reported operating income fell 28 percent to $262 million but were offset by a drop in income-tax expenses.

Revenue per ton fell across Cliffs' business segments and global seaborne iron ore prices dropped 11 percent.

Cliffs cut its sales forecast for its Eastern Canadian Iron Ore segment, citing worse-than-expected recovery rates and throughput at Quebec's Bloom Lake Mine. It said it expects to sell between 8 million and 9 million tonnes in 2013, down from its previous forecast of 9 million to 10 million tonnes, and at slightly higher-than-expected cash costs.

Net income attributable to common shareholders dropped to $133.1 million, or 82 cents a share, from $258.0 million, or $1.81 a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $1.49 billion from $1.58 billion.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 61 cents a share on revenue of $1.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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