Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: The price of crude oil is making another big move today and that's taking oil stocks on another wild ride. By late afternoon crude oil was down over 8.5% to $48.50 per barrel, which was enough to send the stock of W&T Offshore (NYSE:WTI) off even further as it's down about 14%. That drop has it giving back most of yesterday's gains.
So What: W&T Offshore is highly levered to the price of crude oil because 62% of its reserves are either oil or liquids. However, that isn't the only kind of leverage that W&T Offshore has. Its balance sheet is heavy on the debt side as the company has one of the highest net debt-to-capital ratios in the industry. Suffice it to say, this leverage cuts both ways as the debt has acted like a weight as the price of crude has collapsed over the past few months. Overall, the 55% plunge in crude has taken W&T Offshore's stock down 72% from its 52-week high.
Now What: Because of its debt load and focus on oil W&T Offshore is going to be very volatile when the price of crude makes a big move. Looking ahead, the company, and industry as a whole, really needs higher oil prices in order to thrive again. Until that happens investors need to get used to the fact that oil-focused companies with a lot of debt will be hyper-volatile when crude is on the move.