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Why Maxar Technologies Stock Just Tanked Another 34.5%

By Rich Smith – Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 4:41PM

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Wall Street seems to blame the company's satellite mishap for its own poor predictions.

What happened

Pity Maxar Technologies (MAXR 2.69%). These guys just can't catch a break.

Last night, shares of Maxar got pummeled after the satellite and orbital services company confirmed its WorldView-4 digital imaging satellite has suffered a failure (potentially permanent) that will apparently prevent it from collecting imagery -- and generating revenue for Maxar from selling that imagery.

Today, the stock's getting absolutely demolished -- down 34.5% as of 11:30 a.m. EST -- as Wall Street weighs in on what this means for Maxar.

Satellite transmitting to Earth

"Hey, Houston! Get a load of these new downgrades on Maxar stock!" Image source: Getty Images.

So what

So far, is showing five new downgrades on Maxar stock, with Canaccord, BMO, and National Bank Financial now all rating the stock various flavors of neutral, while both Veritas Investment Research and Credit Suisse now advise selling the stock.

Credit Suisse's downgrade is most instructive (it's the only one on StreetInsider with an actual explanation attached). Still, the analyst basically just recites what Maxar itself told us on Monday: that WorldView-4 generates about $85 million a year, that other Maxar satellites might be able to pick up $10 million or $15 million of the slack, and that writing off the satellite will result in a $155 million hit to book value -- but if Maxar makes an insurance claim on the lost satellite, it might make as much as $183 million off this bad news.

Now what

Most of which is what I already told you yesterday. So why are analysts really downgrading Maxar today? Well, consider: Canaccord  just cut its price target on Maxar from $30 a share to $10. BMO more than halved its price target to 15 Canadian dollars ($11.25). And Credit Suisse cut it from $17 to the exact price of $5.83 -- all in response to an event that could actually end up making Maxar a profit.

If you ask me, what's really happening here is that a lot of analysts, who previously were overly optimistic about Maxar stock, are using Monday's news of a satellite mishap -- which really won't hurt Maxar all that much -- as an excuse to reset their poorly performing price targets. (See? It's not that the analysts were wrong about Maxar. It's just this satellite thing broke, and that's why the stock's not worth what they thought it would be worth).

I find these downgrades pretty disingenuous. And I have to wonder if, now that Wall Street has given up on it, Maxar is finally getting cheap enough to buy.

Check out the latest Maxar Technologies earnings call transcript.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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