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Why Shares of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP Fell Off a Cliff Today

By Travis Hoium - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:31PM

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Is this meaningful or just another movement?

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 (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.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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