Analyst downgrades Potash to 'Sell' on prices

AP News
Posted: Dec 18, 2009 4:36 PM

Shares of Potash Corp. slid Friday after an analyst downgraded the fertilizer company to "Sell" from "Hold" on tumbling potash prices.

A ton of the fertilizer in China, the largest buyer and lowest-cost importer of potash, is expected to drop in price to $300 from $400 a few weeks ago, Soleil Securities analyst Mark Gulley wrote in a client note. Potash prices hit a record of more than $1,000 a ton last year.

Gulley was also concerned about Brazilian mining giant Vale's plans to build a greenfield mine in Argentina, which will boost supply and drag prices lower.

Still, falling prices could result in stronger demand, Gulley said, maintaining a price target of $85. The fertilizer is also best positioned over the long term compared with others such as phosphates and nitrogen, he said. Potash accounted for essentially all of the company's gross profit this year.

Shares of Potash fell $6.83, or 6.11 percent, to $105.01 in trading Friday. The stock has traded between $63.65 and $124.10 over the past year.