It hasn’t been a great year so far for Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) shares.
Since the start of the year, the energy producer’s shares are down 3%. This compares to a 10.6% gain by the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) over the same period.
Where next for the Woodside share price?
Where Woodside shares goes from here could depend largely on the strength of its half year results next month.
According to a recent note out of Goldman Sachs, it is expecting a solid set of results from Woodside.
This follows the release of its second quarter update earlier this month which revealed first half production of 46.3mmboe. While this was down 7.5% on the prior corresponding period and short of Goldman’s expectations, its sales revenue surprised to the upside.
It increased 30.5% over the prior corresponding period to US$2,406 million. This was driven by a 42.4% jump in realised pricing, which was 4.8% greater than the broker was anticipating and offset the weaker production.
What about earnings?
One thing not included in the company’s second quarter update was its earnings expectations.
Goldman is forecasting earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to come in at US$1,679 million. This will be an increase of 18.2% over the same period last year.
And on the bottom line, an underlying net profit after tax of US$485 million is expected. This represents a sizeable 60% increase over FY 2020’s underlying first half profit after tax of US$303 million.
From this, Goldman has pencilled in a 40 US cents per share interim dividend, up from 26 US cents a year earlier.
Are Woodside shares in the buy zone?
Goldman Sachs believes Woodside shares are trading at a very attractive level.
Its analysts have a buy rating and lofty $34.00 price target on its shares. Based on the current Woodside share price of $22.34, this implies potential upside of 52% over the next 12 months.