NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Niska Gas Storage Partners (NYSE: NKA) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The share price of NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS has not done very well: it is down 22.99% 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 company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 44.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $50.00 million to $27.90 million.
  • 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.
  • NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS's earnings per share declined by 44.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS increased its bottom line by earning $0.84 versus $0.78 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 1.2% in earnings ($0.83 versus $0.84).
  • 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.

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 49.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Niska Gas has a market cap of $523.3 million and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 27.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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