Financial services firm Citigroup  (NYSE:C ) believes that the recent rally in stock prices of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan  (NYSE:POT ) and Mosaic  (NYSE:MOS ) is about to lose steam.
On Wednesday, Citi analyst P.J. Juvekar downgraded Potash Corp. and Mosaic to hold, from buy. Citigroup also advised investors to take profits on the fertilizer plays, noting that “much of the good news” in the sector has already been digested by the markets.
“Lacking well-defined near-term catalysts, we see growing risk that the stocks could trade sideways into the summer,” Juvekar wrote. Juvekar is still bullish on fertilizer fundamentals, but thinks that the momentum generated by improving farm commodity prices could slow. “When corn moved from $3.50/bushel to $7/bushel, there was ample incentive to invest in more fertilizers to improve yields. At current corn prices, growers are incentivized to apply all the fertilizer they need to boost yields. If corn prices rose from $7/bushel to $8/bushel, farmers may not apply even more fertilizer. The incremental dollar may be invested elsewhere, such as in new machinery or land.”
However, optimism still reigns over the potash market. Last night, in his Mad Money Lightning Round, Jim Cramer voiced his opinion in regards to the recent sell-off of Potash Corp. stock. “Everyone is selling everything, but it’s not the end of the world. People are still running out of food. Potash needs to be bought,” said Cramer.
Smartrend , a trend trading system, pinpointed three fertilizer stocks with high potential upside, including Citi’s downgraded Potash Corp. Smartrend claims Potash Corp. has a potential upside of 25.4% based on a current price of $58.29 and an average consensus analyst price target of $73.08. Smartrend also added CF Industries (NYSE:CF ) and Agrium to its stock picks with high upside potential. According to Smartrend, CF Industries has a potential upside of 23.5% based on a current price of $128.94 and an average consensus analyst price target of $159.27. Agrium (NYSE:AGU ) has a potential upside of 14.0% based on a current price of $92.84 and an average consensus analyst price target of $105.81.
Meanwhile, Europe’s biggest potash producer, K+S Ag (ETR:SDF ) lifted its potash price for the fifth time this week, citing agricultural inflation as the main reason. This upgrade followed a report from the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization that said record food prices are likely to be sustained this year because of high oil costs and smaller harvests.
Global X, the New York City-based ETF issuer best known for its suite of emerging market ETFs, is continuing the expansion of its product lineup with a new filing with the SEC. Among these new offerings is a fund covering the Fertilizer/Potash Industry. The Fertilizer & Potash ETF which will seek to track the Solactive Global Fertilizers/Potash Index. This index follows the performance of the largest and most liquid listed companies globally that are active in some aspect of the fertilizer industry. The index is calculated as a total return index in USD and adjusted semi-annually. The stocks are screened for liquidity and weighted according to free-float market capitalization. Global X has cited skyrocketing interest in the fertilizer sector as the main reason for this new offering.
Allana Potash Corp . (CVE:AAA ) has reported encouraging drill results from its Danakil Depression project in Ethiopia. Allana drilled to test the southern unexplored limits of its concessions. The drill hole intersected a 1 meter zone of 44.5% potassium chloride (KCI), the highest concentration of potash Allana has struck to date. While not particularly thick, the shallowness of the resource (at less than 120m deep) would be extremely suitable for open pit mining, which the company is considering pursuing and on which we have based our NAV,” said Dundee Capital Markets analyst Richard Kelertas. Kelertas also told his clients that these excellent results of drill hole #11 support the view that Allana is sitting on a potash resource far bigger than its current NI 43-101 resource estimate would suggest.
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