Shares of Williams Companies (WMB) - Get Report declined more than 6% Monday, driven by a combination of plummeting oil prices and profit taking ahead of the company's second-quarter results after the market closed. The company posted adjusted earnings of 19 cents per share, below analysts' estimates of 22 cents per share.
Williams also reduced its quarterly dividend to 20 cents per share for the third quarter, down from 64 cents per share previously. The company says the dividend allows Williams to reinvest $1.3 billion into its limited partnership Williams Partners (WPZ) .
Despite the dividend cut, Williams Companies' shares rose 2% after earnings were announced, suggesting investors who jumped the gun and sold their shares are likely eager to get back in.
With the dividend cut, Williams is looking out for its interests, not struggling financially. Williams, in fact, is well capitalized, thanks to second-quarter adjusted Ebitda rising by $48 million year over year. Part of the cash and the cash it will generate in the future will be used to reinvest about $1.7 billion into Williams Partners through 2017.
All told, the company is positioning itself and its pipeline unit with better financial flexibility to capitalize on a rebound in natural gas in the years ahead. The fact that its dividend will still yield close to 5% annually, three percentage points above the S&P 500I:GSPC index shows now is the time to accumulate Williams shares, not sell them.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.