The Tel Aviv-based company’s shares fell 4.3 percent, the biggest drop since Oct. 4, to 40.98 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. The shares jumped 9.7 percent last week, the most since the week ended July 30, 2009, when it rallied 15 percent.
“It seems to be profit-taking after a strong rally of the share most of last week,” Steven Shein, a trader at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv said by phone.
Israel Chemicals advanced last week on investor speculation the shares are undervalued compared with its peers, Mosaic Co. (MOS), the largest U.S. potash producer, and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., the Canadian fertilizer producer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said farmers in 2012 will receive $5 a bushel for corn, down 19 percent from last year, while wheat prices will slide 14 percent and soybeans may drop 1.7 percent.
Farmers apply potash, a form of potassium, to their fields to help strengthen plant root systems and make their crops more resistant to drought.
Israel Chemicals is trading at 9 times estimated earnings, compared with 12.6 estimated earnings for Potash Corp. and 12.3 times for Mosaic. Israel Chemicals has advanced 3.8 percent since the start of the year.
Israel Corp. (ILCO), which has a 52.3 percent stake in Israel Chemicals according to data compiled by Bloomberg, declined 5 percent to 2,300 shekels.
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