Northwest Natural Gas Stock Downgraded (NWN)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE: NWN) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NWN, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.8%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.14, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Gas Utilities industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.08 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • 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 Gas Utilities industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 27.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$8.31 million to -$10.56 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Gas Utilities industry and the overall market, NORTHWEST NATURAL GAS CO's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
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Northwest Natural Gas Company stores and distributes natural gas primarily in Oregon, Washington, and California. The company operates in two segments, Local Gas Distribution and Gas Storage. The Local Gas Distribution segment distributes natural gas in Oregon and southwest Washington. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Northwest Natural Gas has a market cap of $1.15 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 10.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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Will This Downgrade Hurt Northwest Natural Gas (NWN) Stock Today?