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What: Shares of Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE:TRGP) and Targa Resources Partners LP (NYSE:NGLS) are down 14% and 13%, respectively, as of 3:45 p.m. ET after giving some preliminary results as part of the announcement of its earnings release date.

So what: Based on the way Targa's stock has done over the past few months, it's fair to assume that investors were ready for some pretty weak results for the upcoming quarter. It appears, though, that the pessimism was not enough to handle today's announcement of preliminary results. According to the release, the company expects to take some heavy writedowns related to the one of its pipeline networks and the value of the Atlas Energy and Atlas Pipeline Partners acquisition last year. It should be noted that Targa paid $5.87 billion for Atlas in March 2015, and the combined company today has a market capitalization of $2.7 billion. 

Based on the figures given, it was able to keep its export and crude oil gathering businesses steady with similar volumes from the previous sequential quarter. Its natural gas inlet volumes, however, look to be considerably lower than the third quarter. Targa Resources Partners expects to post a rather strong distribution coverage ratio of 1.15 for the quarter, but management has said that it plans to keep its payout flat for the foreseeable future because of the uncertainty of oil prices going forward.

Now what: In some ways, today's stock price decline looks like a bit of an overreaction to some writedowns and a less robust natural gas result. Standing pat with the company's distribution in the middle of the downturn is prudent decision as cash will likely be hard to come by in the coming quarters. However, with Targa Resources Corp.'s proposed buyout of the remaining stake in Targa Resources Partners still up in the air, investors may want also want to stand pat until a clearer picture emerges of the combined company's operational performance. 

Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at Fool.com or on Twitter @TylerCroweFool.

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