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TheStreet Open House

Westport Innovations: This Is Where It Gets Interesting

Stocks in this article: WPRT

(Westport Innovations story updated for latest Nasdaq short interest data)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I want to say it's time to buy Westport Innovations (WPRT), but that might be reckless advice given the seemingly limitless free fall in shares of the natural gas engine maker. What I will say is that it's at least time to put this stock back on your watch list, but don't expect more than to watch it fall even more than it has already.

I think it's all that can be said right now of Westport Innovations, as shares slipped below the $30 mark on Tuesday, for the first time since last December, a long ride down from above $50 mark the shares hit on March 21, and its 200-day moving average now a distant memory.

I'm not going to name the Wall Street analyst whom I emailed with Tuesday -- he might get in a little bit of trouble for expressing some honesty on the name that doesn't reflect the simple world of buy, sell and hold ratings -- but here was our exchange:

Me: "Does it concern you that it's maybe headed down, down, down and the shorts are going to own this stock for a while, or does it seem like an obvious buy here because there is too much support for it not to rebound? Even if the shorts are in it for a future year payday when Cummins (CMI) says bye-bye for good to WPRT relationship, I don't see why it would necessarily trade straight down between now and then. I could see this as a $12 stock in 2015 but a $35 stock next week."

The Cummins Westport joint venture announced in February that the economic terms between the companies will be changing -- a threat to Westport margins, which recently hit a peak 35% level. The impact, if any, from the changes in the 50/50 JV won't be known until the August quarter results, the first full quarter under the new terms. At the same time, Cummins announced it was developing its own 15-liter natural gas engine for 2014, while extending its deal with Westport on 9 liter and 12-liter engines for 10 years.

The analyst: "This slide has been amazing. In 2015 nobody will care about Cummins because Weichei WPRT's Chinese trucking market partner will dwarf CMI as a customer for WPRT! There is just no way to call a bottom, because there isn't any really underlying fundamentals to point to i.e.. cash flow, book value, earnings, etc. Same works to the upside as downside I guess, but this way overdone in my opinion."

Me: "I guess that's where the longer term view comes in."

Analyst: "You have the upcoming earnings call and analyst day. Both could be positive announcements."

Me: "I've been afraid to write about it actually, because I want to say, 'it looks interesting here' but every time I want to say that, it falls some more."

Analyst: "That has been happening to me since 40 bucks!"

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