Why Niko Resources Ltd. Shares Sank

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 Niko Resources Ltd. (TSX: NKO  ) are trading 4% lower today after opening the day with an 11% drop following the release of a disappointing fiscal third-quarter earnings report.

So what: Niko, which has now focused its oil and gas exploration efforts on India and Bangladesh (abandoning its work in Indonesia and Trinidad), has seen its losses widen as a result of that strategic shift. The company's average sales volume of 112 million cubic feet of natural gas-equivalent (MMcfe/d) per day was virtually the same as last quarter's 113 MMcfe/d). Despite a significant reduction in capital expenditures, to $47 million as compared to last quarter's $112 million as a result of Niko's strategic shift, net losses soared to $448 million against last quarter's $149 million, primarily as a result of asset impairments of $339 million on the company's abandoned efforts in Indonesia and Trinidad.

Now what: The moderating of Niko's morning losses shows that investors are willing to forgive the company's temporary weakness -- but the modest drop could also be because beleaguered shareholders have already lost about two-thirds of their investment in the stock over the past year. Niko's price-to-book is a rock-bottom 0.3 right now, far below that of many oil-industry peers and competitors, but since sales volumes are only projected to grow by roughly 10% in 2014 and 2015, there may be a lot of losses ahead before Niko begins rewarding patient shareholders with profits.

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