4. CF Industries (CF)
Company profile: CF, with a market value of $12 billion, is the biggest nitrogen fertilizer producer and phosphate distributor in North America.
Dividend Yield: 0.85%
Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 31% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 38%. Analysts give its shares four "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," and seven "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.Goldman Sachs says the company is its top industry pick with a potential 10% to 15% upside on first-quarter earnings based on "exceptional nitrogen pricing trends, potentially good news on buybacks, and an attractive (valuation of) four times (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) multiple," which is 20% below the historical average of five times EBITDA. 3. Agrium (AGU) Company profile: Agrium is a Canada-based company with a market value of $13 billion. It owns more than 1,250 retail centers, which makes it the No. 1 agricultural retailer in the U.S. It sells fertilizers, crop chemicals, and seed directly to farm customers. Dividend Yield: 0.52% Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 29% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 31%. Analysts give its shares 11 "buy" ratings, six "buy/holds," and eight "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. 2. Mosaic (MOS) Company profile: Mosaic, with a market value of $23 billion, is a leading producer of phosphate and potash, two of the three primary crop nutrients. Dividend Yield: 0.94% Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 1.6% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 6%, but they have an average annual return of 12% over five years. Analysts give its shares six "buy" ratings, nine "buy/holds," and eight "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts expect it will earn $4.36 per share this year and that that will grow by 16% to $5.07 per share in 2013. S&P, which has a $64 price target on its shares, a 28% premium to the current price, has them rated "buy." 1. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) Company profile: Potash, with a market value of $37 billion, is the world's largest independent potash producer and a leading phosphate and nitrogen producer. Dividend Yield: 1.29% Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 6% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 16%. The stock has a 10-year annualized return of 28%. Analysts give its shares eight "buy" ratings, 14 "buy/holds," six "holds," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Morningstar says it is the lowest-cost producer and has "strong strategic advantages," given its operations worldwide. Goldman Sachs has a "neutral" rating on its shares, but a $48 price target, which is about a 12% premium to the current price. >>To see these stocks in action, visit the 8 Fertilizer Stocks Primed for Growth portfolio on Stockpickr.
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