NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Niska Gas Storage Partners (NYSE: NKA) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $113.76 million or 47.62% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The share price of NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS has not done very well: it is down 8.69% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • NKA's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.42 is sturdy.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 23.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 47.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. It owns or contracts for approximately 185.5 billion cubic feet of total gas storage capacity. The company has a P/E ratio of 53.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Niska Gas has a market cap of $562.2 million and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 15.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Niska Gas Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
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