What Happens to Stock Markets When Oil Prices Go Up or Down?

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What Happens to Stock Markets When Oil Prices Go Up or Down

Oil pricing is one of the most important factors affecting markets worldwide. It connects many businesses and oil stock prices. Knowing how oil prices affect your portfolio will be crucial to your trading journey. The relationship between oil market prices and stock market returns is complex. This article explores how oil price changes affect production costs, profit margins, and consumer behaviour, influencing the share market. Geopolitics, alternative energy investments, and central bank moves complicate the oil maze further. Through this article, we will navigate this complexity and offer practical tips for investors, such as diversification, a long-term focus, and active management to handle changing oil stock prices.

How oil prices affect your portfolio?

Today, many countries rely on oil, which plays a lot of different and difficult parts in your stock. Its price often fluctuates due to several things, such as supply and demand, the political state in the world, and the strategies of countries that produce crude oil, impacting many things, from plane stocks to how much people spend. To make smart business decisions, you need to be able to see this complicated link coming.

Crude Oil and Stock Market Relationships

The crude oil and stock market relationship is inversely proportional to most oil stock prices. More oil prices mean higher costs for businesses, which cuts into their income and slows down the market as a whole, according to the standard story. Alternatively, when oil costs are low, people spend more, and businesses make more money, increasing market prices. Although some of this is true, the truth is much more complicated. Let’s discuss how this affects your portfolio.

Effects on stock markets and your portfolio

Input Costs and Profit Margins:

  • Increases in input costs and profit margins hurt oil businesses, such as chemicals, transportation, and airplanes. More expensive fuel cuts into their income and causes the price of their shares to drop. 
  •  On the other hand, lower oil prices are great for these industries because they increase profits and can even drive oil stock prices up. For example, budget planes and transport businesses often see a rise when oil is cheap.
  •  For every $10 increase in the cost of oil, the current account deficit increases by 0.55% since oil constitutes a major portion of India’s total imports. Foreign exchange flows out of the country whenever the current account deficit increases, leading to a depreciation in the value of the rupee. Hence, imports with a depreciating currency become costlier as the government will have to pay more for the same quantity. An increase in import prices causes an increase in input costs, and oil stock prices fall again. Conversely, if oil prices decrease, imports will become cheaper, and the rupee and oil stock prices will appreciate.

Consumer Spending and Market Sentiment:

  • Regarding consumer spending and market sentiment, high oil prices have a negative effect because they cause gas prices to go up and total consumer costs to go up. Retailers, recreation companies, and the economy as a whole may be affected by less spending on things that aren't necessary. Inflation can go down because of this because it makes investors less optimistic.
  • When oil prices are low, people have more money, increasing their purchasing power and accelerating economic growth. The stock market often rides this positive wave, generating profits in various sectors.
  • For every $10 increase in oil price, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases by 0.3%. When CPI rises and the economy's general price level increases, investors’ confidence in firms decreases, and purchasing power reduces, negatively affecting oil stock prices. Conversely, a fall in oil prices boosts investors’ confidence and positively affects oil stock prices.  

Beyond the binary:

In the oil-stock market link, there is more than just a straight up-or-down effect. Multiple factors make things even more complicated:

  1. Situations in geopolitics: 
    Unrest in oil-producing areas or problems in supply lines can cause quick price increases that affect some industries, like Paints, Tyres, and the Aviation sector, more than others. Geopolitical issues and possible flashpoints should be taken into account by investors.
  2. Investments in alternative energy: 
    The rise of green energy sources like wind and sun can protect investors from fluctuations in oil prices. Holding shares in companies at the heart of this change can help diversify your long-term investments.
  3. Central Bank policy: 
    Currency policy choices and significant changes to interest rates can affect the price of oil and the stock market. Making smart financial decisions involves tracking how these factors affect each other.

Dealing with the Oil Maze Tips for Investors:

  1. Diversification: 
    Investing in various areas, including those less affected by oil prices, like energy and utility sectors, can lower your risk and stabilise your stock.
  2. Long-term focus: 
    Unexpected oil price changes should be okay with how you spend your money. Whatever the oil price does right now, you should think about the long-term trends in the economy and invest in companies with solid foundations and growth prospects.
  3. Active management: 
    For more experienced buyers, constantly handling your portfolio and changing your stocks based on the changing oil market could produce the best results. Closely watching market trends and careful research are needed for this.

An interesting past:

The world's biggest stock markets, especially the UK's, went through a bear run from January 1973 to December 1974. The stock market drop was thought to be the worst since the Great Depression. What’s interesting about that? The oil crisis, which started in October 1973, raised the price of oil and was one of the leading causes of the stock market crash. Recently, the underlying contracts for crude oil went negative in April 2020 because there were too many supplies (and no demand, i.e., no buyers for future contracts) due to COVID-19. Due to the global lockdown, there was a sharp drop in the oil market. Although oil demand dropped, producers did not stop making it in time because they hoped demand and prices would rise again. Even so, that did not happen.

Additionally, the price of WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil fell to a harmful level. Still, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) index was not significantly affected by this critical event in oil prices; it only dropped by 16 points that week. More drops occurred in April but were back to normal by mid-May. Now you can guess the crude oil and stock market relationship.

Takeaway: While the stock market may not fluctuate violently due to changes in oil prices, some heavily oil-dependent companies certainly do. So, take note of crude oil price movements before investing in such companies.


To summarise, oil prices have a complex yet intricate connection to your investment portfolio globally. Although popular belief suggests a simple inverse relationship, the situation is frequently much more complex and influenced by factors like input prices and geopolitical events. With such a complicated terrain for investors, diversification, future vision, and active management cannot be emphasised enough. Understanding the effect of oil prices on the different sectors and taking up alternative energy investments are vital steps in shaping a balanced, resilient portfolio. By keeping up with market trends, geopolitical events, and central bank policies, investors can see through short-term fluctuations to take advantage of enduring patterns forming an oil-stock relationship.