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Nutrien (NTR) Ups Quarterly Dividend, Announces Share Buyback

Nutrien Ltd. NTR recently announced that its board of directors has approved a quarterly dividend of 54 cents per share, payable on Apr 11, 2024, to shareholders on record as of Mar 28, 2024. This marks a roughly 2% increase over the previous dividend declared on Nov 1, 2023, and corresponds to a yearly dividend of $2.16 per share.

The board also authorized the purchase of up to 5% of Nutrien's issued and outstanding common shares over a 12-month period via a normal course issuer bid (NCIB). Any purchases of common shares will be subject to the Toronto Stock Exchange accepting Nutrien's notice to begin an NCIB.

Nutrien reported $941 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the fourth quarter, a 4% increase over the previous year. Long-term debt totaled $8,913 million, up roughly 11% year on year. The cash generated by operating activities was $4,150 million in the quarter.

Shares of Nutrien have lost 31.6% over the past year compared with a 34.2% decline of its industry.

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Nutrien projects a Retail adjusted EBITDA ranging from $1.65-$1.85 billion for 2024, anticipating increased gross margins across major product lines compared with 2023 levels. The company expects crop nutrient gross margins to benefit from higher sales volumes and per-ton margins, particularly rebounding from compressed levels in the prior year's first half, with an anticipated recovery in Brazilian crop protection margins in the latter half of 2024.

It expects Potash sales volume to be in the range of 13-13.8 million tons, indicating demand growth in offshore markets and normalized Canpotex port operations. In North America, first-quarter sales volumes are expected to rise from the prior year’s levels due to robust customer engagement.

Nitrogen and phosphate sales volume guidance, ranging from 10.6-11.2 million tons and 2.6-2.8 million tons, respectively, implies higher operating rates compared to 2023.

Total capital expenditures of $2.2-$2.3 billion are projected to be lower than the prior year’s figure, including investments in Retail, Potash mine automation projects and Nitrogen expansions.

Nutrien Ltd. Price and Consensus

Nutrien Ltd. price-consensus-chart | Nutrien Ltd. Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Nutrien currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include United States Steel Corporation X, Carpenter Technology Corporation CRS and Alpha Metallurgical Resources Inc. AMR.

United States Steel carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). X beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters, with the average earnings surprise being 54.8%. The company’s shares have soared 62.7% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Carpenter Technology currently carries a Zacks Rank #1. CRS beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters while matching it once, with the average earnings surprise being 12.2%. The company’s shares have soared 33.7% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AMR’s current-year earnings has been revised upward by 69% in the past 60 days. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.  AMR delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 9.6%, on average. AMR shares are up around 128.8% in a year.


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