UPDATE 4-Potash sees slow rebound, shares dip after 'stinker' quarter

Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:48pm EST
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* Sees 2013 EPS of $2.75-$3.25; Wall Street view $3.18

* Fourth-quarter earnings fall 38 percent

* Shares off lows, still down in afternoon (Adds CEO comments, updates share price)

By Rod Nickel

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan forecast a modest rebound in earnings for 2013, with key importers in China and eventually India resuming purchases of the crop nutrient potash, but the company's recovery will be more gradual than expected.

Potash Corp, the world's biggest fertilizer company, reported a surprisingly large drop in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and gave a first-quarter outlook below Wall Street's forecast. The analysts' average estimate for all of 2013 was near the high end of Potash's range.

The company's shares were down 1.1 percent at C$42.71 in Toronto and off 0.4 percent at $42.85 in New York on Thursday afternoon, off earlier lows.

"My hope is they're being relatively conservative on the guidance for the full year," said analyst Spencer Churchill of Paradigm Capital. "If we see prices come up, we can start to see results get better."

The company reported a bigger-than-expected 38 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday.   Continued...