Why Ultra Petroleum's Shares Plunged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of independent oil and gas company Ultra Petroleum (NYSE: UPL  ) fell 10% today after the company announced earnings and a huge writedown.

So what: During the second quarter the company's revenue fell 39% to $170.3 million, which was well below the $283.7 million analysts expected. Adjusted profit of $55.1 million, or $0.36 per share, was ahead of the $0.33 per share mark analysts set, but after a $1.2 billion writedown, the company lost $1.19 billion in the quarter.

Now what: Low natural gas prices are not only hurting sales, they are the cause of the huge writedown this quarter. The company is hoping that prices rebound as rigs move to liquid-rich plays, but until that happens I'm staying far away from natural gas stocks. I've been hearing about a bounce in the price of gas for year, but it has yet to happen and I'm not buying this stock until it drops down and financial performance improves.

Interested in more info on Ultra Petroleum? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Ultra Petroleum. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ultra Petroleum. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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