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Potash Corp expected to post Big Jump in profits Thursday, but focus on outlook forecasts

Potash Corp (POT.TO), the target of a failed US$39 billion hostile takeover bid from BHP Billiton last year, is expected to post a big jump in profits on Thursday, driven by surging demand and higher prices for its fertilizer products, Reuters says.

But while analysts are taking strong fourth-quarter results as a given, the burning issue is whether the world's largest fertilizer maker can follow up on its marquee performance by whetting the market's appetite for more of the same in 2011, it adds.

Reuters notes expectations for fertilizer demand in 2011 are already running sky-high, with farmers keen to capitalize on a recent surge in grain prices by increasing nutrient application.

That has put Potash Corp under pressure to ratchet up its already robust forecasts for earnings and sales, or risk turning off investors who have pushed its stock up more than 60% over the past year, it says.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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