Shares of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), India’s largest refiner, jumped 2.5% to Rs 142.4 on Wednesday, buoyed by a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit that defied a decline in revenue.
IOC’s net profit for the October-December quarter soared to Rs 80.63 billion ($970 million), easily surpassing analyst estimates of Rs 41.34 billion, according to data from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). This marks a significant improvement from the Rs 2,959 crore profit reported in the same period last year.
While revenue from operations slipped 2.2% year-over-year to Rs 2.03 trillion, it still managed to beat analyst expectations of Rs 2.03 trillion. The result suggests IOC successfully navigated a challenging operating environment marked by volatile oil prices and global economic uncertainty.
Trading volume for IOC shares was robust, with over 26.3 million shares changing hands, roughly double the 30-day average. This indicates strong investor interest in the stock following the upbeat earnings report.
Despite the positive financial performance, analysts remain cautious on IOC’s outlook. The LSEG data shows that the average rating among 30 analysts covering the stock is “hold,” and the current share price sits at a nearly 27% premium to the median price target of Rs 112.5.
However, it’s important to note that IOC’s stock price has already rallied significantly in recent months. The shares climbed approximately 43% in the third quarter of 2023, marking their best quarterly performance since December 2007. This suggests that some of the optimism surrounding the company may already be priced into the stock.
In conclusion, while IOC’s earnings beat offers a welcome boost, analysts remain divided on the stock’s near-term prospects. Continued volatility in oil prices and potential macroeconomic headwinds could pose challenges for the company in the coming quarters. Investors should carefully consider these factors before making any investment decisions regarding IOC.