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 Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE:BWP) fell a whopping 42% today after the natural gas midstream specialist announced a drop in distributions to shareholders.

So what: Payouts will be reduced from $0.53 per quarter to just $0.10 because cash flows from transportation and storage of natural gas is expected to decline. Management will instead use cash to reduce debt and fund expansion plans.  

Now what: This is the danger with master limited partnerships such as Boardwalk, whose investors thought they were holding a stock with an 8.8% dividend yield on Friday night, but today can only expect a 2.9% yield, even with the stock drop. Those distributions are often the biggest driver of value for MLP investors, and when they're reduced the fall can be dramatic. Since management doesn't expect conditions to improve much over the next year or two I see no reason to jump into the stock, even after the drop today.

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.