Why Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, Changyou.com, and Orbitz Worldwide Tumbled Today

The stock market posted modest gains today, but these three stocks were among the worst performers in a quiet market. Find out why here.

Feb 10, 2014 at 7:31PM

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

Stocks took a well-deserved breather today after a bumpy week last week, with the S&P 500 finishing Monday's session up less than 0.2%. But even though the markets weren't reasonably calm today, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP), Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU), and Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) all fell dramatically Monday because of company-specific issues that send investors scurrying for cover.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners plunged 46% as the master limited partnership slashed its dividend payout from $0.5325 per share last quarter to just $0.10 per share this quarter. The company said that by reducing its distribution, Boardwalk would be better able to cut its leverage and strengthen its balance sheet, as well as avoiding the need to issue new units that could lead to dilution. Given that the MLP suffered a 78% drop in net income for the quarter, though, Boardwalk needs to work hard if it wants to convince investors eventually that this was just a bump in the road.

Changyou fell 11% after analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded the Chinese online-gaming stock following its quarterly report. Changyou said that it expects to lose between $0.30 and $0.42 per share in the current quarter, defying expectations of a profit of more than $1 per share. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley's analysts cited short-term fallout from investments that Changyou has made to try to bolster its long-term growth, and they expect that the company could actually lose money in 2014 as a result, cutting more than $6 from their earnings-per-share forecasts for the current year. Substantial cash on hand could act as a buffer against steeper losses, but Changyou needs those investments to bear fruit if it expects to recover in the long run.

Orbitz dropped 6% despite entering into new long-term agreements with travel-management and technology companies Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport. The new deal will end an exclusive arrangement with Travelport as of the beginning of 2015, and Amadeus issued a press release looking forward to the new Orbitz partnership. The problem that Orbitz faces, though, is that rivals Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) and priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) are still growing at a much faster pace than Orbitz is, threatening to make the lagging online travel portal irrelevant to the industry in the long run. Without more substantial strategic moves, Orbitz could see continued losses in the future.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of priceline.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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