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Inside the Market

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Where's the fertilizer feeding frenzy? Add to ...

Judging from the performances of fertilizer-related stocks, investors aren't pinning their hopes on a round of consolidation within the sector. Share prices are generally up a little since BHP Billiton plonked down $39-billion (U.S.) on the table for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan on Tuesday, sending Potash Corp. shares surging - but you're not seeing any wider embrace.

The blog 24/7 Wall Street provides a nice roundup of some of the other big names that could attract the attention of suitors should a feeding frenzy begin. We then looked at share price performances over the past two days and year to date.

Since Tuesday morning, Potash Corp. shares have risen a cumulative 29.6 per cent, implying that investors see a done deal here - and at a higher price than BHP is offering for the company. But over the same period, Mosaic Co. has risen 3.5 per cent, Agrium Inc. has risen 3.9 per cent, Intrepid Potash Inc. has risen 4.4 per cent, CF Industries Inc. has risen 6.2 per cent and Terra Nitrogen Co. LP has risen 4.5 per cent - decent bumps, to be sure, but hardly the stuff of speculative fervour.

Even with these two-day gains, these five stocks are actually under water for the year, with an average loss of 3.7 per cent. For what it's worth, Potash Corp. itself was no great performer before BHP Billiton came along. Before Tuesday's bombshell takeover offer, the shares had been up all of 1.7 per cent.

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