Why Transocean Stock Tanked 10% at the Open Today

What happened

Shares of offshore energy services company Transocean (NYSE:RIG) fell 10% in the first half hour of trading on Feb. 23. The big news, however, came after the close on Feb. 22, when Transocean reported earnings. It was tough reading. 

So what

The headline number for Wall Street was Transocean’s adjusted loss of $0.34 per share in the fourth quarter of 2020. That was down from a loss of $0.11 in the third quarter and well short of the $0.19-per-share loss that analysts had been expecting. Investors don’t like it when companies miss consensus estimates, so it’s not all that shocking that Transocean’s stock fell.  

A woman with offshore oil rigs in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

The thing is, there was more bad news here. When the company reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings, its backlog was $10.2 billion. In the third quarter of 2020, it reported that the backlog was $8.2 billion. The current earnings report pegs the backlog at $7.8 billion. There’s still a lot of work to be done on that figure, but the declines hint that demand in the energy sector remains weak. And that doesn’t bode well for the future here, even though management suggests that things will start to get better “later this year and into next year.”  

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Now what

Although oil prices have been on the rise of late, and have actually returned to pre-coronavirus levels, the industry still appears to be holding back on the spending front. That’s a headwind for companies like Transocean that support the energy sector’s drilling efforts. Backlog, something of a proxy for demand, will probably be an increasingly important metric here for investors. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.


View more information: https://www.fool.com/investing/2021/02/23/why-transocean-stock-tanked-10-at-the-open-today/

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