What happened to the Woolworths (ASX:WOW) share price in October?

The company’s shares had a tough last month…

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The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price moved in circles for the month of October, down around 2%. While its shares have rebounded in the last few days, the retail conglomerate has faced a challenging time lately.

At Friday’s closing bell, Woolworths shares finished the day 1.38% higher to $39.63.

What’s happened to Woolworths shares?

During October, Woolworths focused on navigating its way around COVID-19 as major disruptions to supply chain and stores were caused. This particularly came from its two biggest client bases, New South Wales and Victoria.

Prolonged lockdown restrictions dampened investor sentiment, sending Woolworths shares in a horizontal channel.

Interestingly, this is despite the company successfully completing its $2 billion off-market share buyback. The program saw strong demand which had to be significantly scaled down to minimise disadvantage to shareholders with smallholdings.

In addition, Woolworths provided its first quarter trading update for the FY22 period on 27 October.

Most key metrics across the portfolio increased as the company looked at ways to create a simpler operating model. The only declining segment came from its Big W business due to store closures and trading restrictions.

The company noted that sales in Australian Food have slowed down in October as restrictions are eased. The performance of Big W rests on the trading conditions of the Christmas holiday period.

Following the mixed trading update, investors headed for the exits, with Woolworths shares slumping 3.24% to $39.16 on the day.

Broker updates

Since announcing the results, a number of brokers weighed in on the Woolworths share price.

Multinational investment bank, JPMorgan raised its price target by 1% to $43 for the retail conglomerate’s shares. Credit Suisse followed suit, adding 1.4% to a bearish outlook of $31.84.

However, Swiss-based agency, UBS decided to cut Woolworths shares by 7.5% to $37 apiece. The broker also downgraded its assessment to a “sell” rating from “neutral”. This implies a downside of around 7% when measured against the current value of Woolworths shares.

Woolworths share price snapshot

It’s been a sound 12 months for Woolworths shares, posting a gain of 15%, while year-to-date is around the same.

The company has proved its resilience against COVID-19, reaching an all-time high of $42.66 in mid-August.

Based on today’s price, Woolworths commands a market capitalisation of roughly $47.93 billion and has approximately 1.21 billion shares outstanding.

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