Potash -4.3% as challenging fertilizer market conditions hit Q4 results

|About: Potash Corporation of Saska... (POT)|By:, SA News Editor

Potash (POT) -4.3% premarket after posting a 45% drop in Q4 earnings and issuing weaker than expected earnings guidance for 2014 on expectations for continued pricing pressure.

Gross margins fell as lower prices for all three fertilizer nutrients - potash, nitrogen and phosphate - outweighed improved costs and higher sales volumes.

In its downside guidance, POT sees Q1 EPS of $0.30-$0.35 vs. $0.46 analyst consensus, and sees FY 2014 EPS of $1.40-$1.80 vs. $2.01 consensus.

Q4 potash sales volumes rose 13%, largely fueled by North American activity, but average potash prices fell to $282/metric ton in the quarter from $387 a year earlier; while POT near-term pressure on potash prices appears to have subsided, "its impact is expected to suppress our offshore realizations through the early part of 2014."

Among peers: MOS -1.2%, IPI -2.1% premarket.