The Webjet (ASX:WEB) share price was $12 before COVID-19 hit. Can it ever get back there?

A traveller dressed in colourful shirt and panama hat looking puzzled, indicating uncertainty regarding the Webjet share price

Market watchers are keeping a vigilant eye on the Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) share price as travel makes a comeback.

With more overseas flight routes reopening, one might presume this could bode well for the Webjet share price.

And perhaps so – Webjet shares have climbed more than 35% from a low in late August. But, in the past month, the Webjet share price has fallen back into the red.

It was trading at about $12 before the pandemic hit, and so we ask the question – can the travel giant touch that level once more?

Why don’t we check in and see what the experts are saying, and gauge their sentiment to help us answer this question.

What’s up with the Webjet share price lately?

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom for Webjet shareholders. Whilst the share price has slipped by 0.48% this past month, shares in competitor Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) have fallen more than 10.5% in that time.

Plus, global border mobility has started to normalise, as global vaccination numbers finally hit specified targets.

The first glimmer of hope for international travel came back in September. That’s when the US announced it would open its borders to vaccinated travellers from 33 countries.

Australia also announced its border restrictions would lift by December, albeit in a staggered fashion at the state level.

Investors responded positively to the news, but the momentum has slowed over the past month.

So far this week, the Webjet share price has lost about 4.3% and Flight Centre is down 4.5%.

What’s the outlook for Webjet?

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, 11 analysts have a recommendation on Webjet. Six say hold or have a neutral rating.

Analysts at research firm ISS-EVA have the only sell recommendation, with no identified price target.

Broker JP Morgan has a neutral stance and maintains a $5.20 price target, according to its latest report. Its rating remains unchanged in FY22.

JP Morgan notes that “in the absence of near term liquidity concerns, we believe [recent lockdowns] should be of minimal consequence to investors” holding a long-term view.

Fellow broker Goldman Sachs sees things a bit differently. It has a $7 price target and reckons the reopening of international borders is a positive catalyst for Webjet’s earnings.

Goldman recently updated its view on international travel recovery. It now expects “pre-Covid travel levels to be achieved in late FY23 rather than FY24 in terms of international travel from Australia”.

Ord Minnett is even more constructive on Webjet shares, assigning a $7.12 price target.

UBS recently bumped its price target by 8% to $6.85. The Swiss investment bank agrees that international travel is likely to see a strong rebound, based on what has happened in other jurisdictions when they opened their borders.

Webjet has received 10 price target upgrades in the past two months from other firms such as RBC Capital Markets, Morgans, Citi and Macquarie. These brokers have price targets of $5.50, $6.20, $6.04 and $6.65 respectively.

Can the share price return to its former glory?

Only 4 out of the 11 brokers covering the Webjet share price recommend buying or are bullish on its direction. That’s only 36% of the group. Even if there was a higher consensus, not 1 have a price target that resembles $12 per share.

So, the experts don’t see a clear path for the Webjet share price to achieve its former glory of $12 – not just yet, anyway.

In terms of gauging sentiment, the spread between the highest and lowest valuations among the brokers is 65%. This illustrates the diverse range of opinions on the direction of the Webjet share price.

It appears that only time – and the company’s fundamentals – will tell if the market can ever reward Webjet by sending its shares back to that level again.

At the time of writing, the Webjet share price is trading at $6.23, which is 1.58% down on yesterday’s closing price.

Over the past 12 months, it has climbed 23%.

The post The Webjet (ASX:WEB) share price was $12 before COVID-19 hit. Can it ever get back there? appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. 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 and Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Flight Centre Travel 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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