What happened

Shares of Canadian space star Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) are now officially available for purchase on the NYSE. For better or for worse, they're also selling a whole lot cheaper today than they were yesterday, down 41.3% as of 11:50 a.m. after the company reported a huge net loss for its fiscal third quarter -- when Wall Street had been predicting a profit.

Expected to report $1.06 per share in net income today on more than $560 million in sales, Maxar's third-quarter report instead informed of a massive $7.31-per-share loss on sales of barely $508 million.

Meteor exploding in air.

Maxar stock exploded like a meteor strike this morning. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The news isn't quite as terrible as it appears at first glance -- but it's still pretty terrible.

Much of Maxar's loss came about as a result of a $383.6 million noncash charge to earnings for impairment and obsolescence. But even backing out that (hopefully) one-time charge, Maxar would have lost $0.83 per share for the quarter and still fallen far short of Wall Street's estimates.

On the plus side, Maxar did report $29.2 million in adjusted free cash flow for the quarter. According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, that means that despite being in a net loss position on its income statement, Maxar is still generating strong free cash flow of approximately $286 million over the past 12 months.

Now what

That's a lot of cash -- maybe enough to entice one to take a look at Maxar stock after today's big drop? Don't expect investors to be too eager to jump into this company even after its decline, however.

Guiding through its final fiscal quarter of the year, Maxar told investors it expects to end 2018 with a 6.5% decline in full-year revenues. Worse, management is forecasting total capital spending to exceed $300 million this year, potentially wiping out the company's predicted $300 million to $400 million in adjusted operating cash flow and putting Maxar's cash-flow statement in the red for the year.

Considering how investors reacted to seeing red ink on the income statement today, I can't say I think they'd be any more pleased to see it bleed over into the cash-flow statement as well.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.