Thursday, November 4, 2010

Citigroup (NYSE:C) Slaps Agrium (NYSE:AGU) with Downgrade After Big Miss

The miss by Agrium (NYSE:AGU) with its quarterly results was a big one, and Citigroup (NYSE:C) punished them with a downgrade, dropping them from "Buy" to "Hold."

Not only was the miss an unexpected event for analysts, it was the size of the miss, where earnings came in at $111 million, or 70 cents a share, far off the 87 cents a share analysts were looking for.

The only thing that was offered as a possibility was that analysts may have missed the timing of the price increases, which may have skewed their expectations.

Agrium said gross profit for the quarter increased 26 percent to $500 million, driven mostly by a strong performance from its retail unit.

Guidance given by Agrium was for fourth-quarter earnings to increase to a range of $1.00 to $1.30 a share, far above the 97 cents a share the Street is looking for.

As Agrium found out though, delivering on a promise and expectation is harder than giving one.

Agrium fell to $84.92 on Wednesday, losing $2.30, or 2.64 percent.

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