IOC profits were up nearly eight-fold to Rs.6100 crore in the fourth quarter. This was largely driven by higher operating income. Total revenues in the fourth quarter were also up by 10% at Rs.1.26 trillion. Even operating profits were up nearly 3 fold in the fourth quarter at Rs.10,800 crore. The operating margins went up sharply from 2.6% in the fourth quarter last year to 8.6% in the current quarter.

As a buying candidate you need to be cautious for few reasons. It has also been a dividend play and will continue to be a solid dividend play. But alone is not enough to make the stock attractive. There is a fear that if the crude prices go up higher then IOC may be called upon to take a part of the burden along with BPCL and HPCL. That is a risk that has kept the stock price subdued. It is hard to make profit on the stock from here on when its margins are so erratic. You need to be cautious and not be carried away by the results of one quarter.