Leap Wireless Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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 Leap Wireless (NAS: LEAP) are tanking by as much as 13% today as a BTIG analyst initiated coverage on the stock with a sell rating and a $4 price target.

So what: The analyst added, "We believe Leap could return to the capital markets within the next 12 months if they are unable to sell some of their unused regional spectrum and based on the company's history of raising capital when cash falls below $500 million." At the end of last quarter, Leap had roughly $508.1 million in cash and equivalents and $215.9 million in short-term investments.

Now what: The $4 price target would represent a 42% drop compared to Friday's close of $6.91, and today's sell-off shows no sign of taking a breather as the market overall is broadly lower today. The report also notes that Leap generates no earnings per share or free cash flow. The last time the company generated either was back in 2005. In contrast, a different analyst upgraded the stock just last week to outperform and a $12 price target on strength in the prepaid segment. With Leaf's market cap now sitting at $543 million, that $4.7 billion offer from more-efficient rival MetroPCS (NYS: PCS) a few years ago doesn't look so bad.

Interested in more info on Leap Wireless? Add it to your watchlist byclicking here.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. 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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.