Why did the Woodside (ASX:WPL) share price slide today?

Woodside Petroleum shares underperformed the market today. We look at the possible cause

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) managed to finally have a day in the green today. The ASX 200 closed this Thursday at 7,311.7 points, up a healthy 0.54%. But one ASX 200 share didn’t get the invite. That would be the Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share price.

Woodside shares had a clanger today. This ASX energy share closed today’s trading session at $24.99 a share, down 1.23%. That puts Woodside in the upper-middle of its 52-week range ($17.17 to $27.60).

So why did the Woodside share price go backwards when the broader market powered forwards today?

The first thing we should look at for an oil driller like Woodside is the price of crude oil itself. Since Woodside’s business model revolves around drilling ‘black gold’ out of the ground, any changes to the underlying price of crude oil directly influence this company’s profitability.

Why did the Woodside share price underperform the ASX 200?

Lo and behold, oil markets have been a little shaky over the past day or so. As my Fool colleague James heralded this morning, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil slid overnight, falling 0.2% to US$80.50 a barrel. Brent crude also fell by a similar amount to US$83.24.

While this slide might not look like anything too significant, especially seeing as it still leaves oil at a historically high level, it could be causing concern on the demand side of the market. As we reported this morning, “demand concerns appear to be the reason behind the softening oil prices”.

This thesis gels with what other ASX oil companies did today. Woodside wasn’t the only share in the energy space to go backwards. Woodside’s fellow drillers Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Oil Search Ltd (ASX: OSH) also lost steam. Santos shares ended up losing 1.34% to $7.34 today, while Oil Search fell 0.66% to $4.54 a share.

So where to now for the Woodside share price?

As my Fool colleague Tristan covered just yesterday, brokers at Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) reckon there is a little more oil in the barrel for Woodside shareholders.

Macquarie currently rates Woodside shares with a 12-month price target of $27.25. That implies a potential 12-month upside of roughly 9% on today’s levels. The broker is optimistic Woodside will be able to pay out healthy dividends going forward and likes the company’s current valuation.

At the current Woodside share price, this company has a market capitalisation of $24.34 billion and a dividend yield of 2.25%.

Should you invest $1,000 in Woodside Petroleum right now?

Before you consider Woodside Petroleum, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Woodside Petroleum wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for nearly a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of August 16th 2021

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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