Why Ultra Petroleum's Shares Plunged

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 independent oil and gas company Ultra Petroleum (NYS: UPL) fell 10% today after the company announced earnings and a huge writedown.

So what: During the second quarter the company's revenue fell 39% to $170.3 million, which was well below the $283.7 million analysts expected. Adjusted profit of $55.1 million, or $0.36 per share, was ahead of the $0.33 per share mark analysts set, but after a $1.2 billion writedown, the company lost $1.19 billion in the quarter.

Now what: Low natural gas prices are not only hurting sales, they are the cause of the huge writedown this quarter. The company is hoping that prices rebound as rigs move to liquid-rich plays, but until that happens I'm staying far away from natural gas stocks. I've been hearing about a bounce in the price of gas for year, but it has yet to happen and I'm not buying this stock until it drops down and financial performance improves.

Interested in more info on Ultra Petroleum? Add it to your watchlist byclicking here.

The article Why Ultra Petroleum's Shares Plunged originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributorTravis Hoiumdoes not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at@FlushDrawFool, check out hispersonal stock holdingsor follow his CAPS picks atTMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns shares of Ultra Petroleum.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Ultra Petroleum. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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