Shares of NiSource fell nearly 10% following multiple gas explosions in several towns in Massachusetts. The company's subsidiary, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, owns the gas pipeline investigators suspect led to the destruction of homes, injuries and at least one death.
Between the lines: The worry for investors is NiSource could face investigations and lawsuits (which, if history is any guide, will certainly be the case), and the company will suffer hefty fines or penalties.
A spokesman for NiSource did not respond to a request for comment about the stock price, but said the company is investigating the incident. Barring any candid interviews, we won't hear from the CEO until November—when the company holds a quarterly call with investors.
What analysts are saying:
- Wells Fargo: "We expect shares to come under nearterm pressure and for the explosions to serve as an overhang on shares for some time."
- J.P.Morgan: " Given the widely varying penalty precedents for gas utility accidents around the US, it is impossible at this time to rule out any magnitude of fine on the company and potential overhang on the stock that may bring."
- KeyBanc: " We believe [NiSource's] downside is likely buffered by insurance coverage."