How Halliburton Hopped Over a Much Lowered Bar

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Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) reported first-quarter 2017 results before markets opened on Monday. The oil and gas services company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.04 on revenues of $4.28 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.04 on revenues of $4.2 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $0.03 per share and $4.26 billion in revenues.

North American onshore revenues rose 30% sequentially in the first quarter, and total North American revenues rose 24%. The company attributed the growth to increased pressure pumping and well construction product services. Revenues dipped 12% sequentially in the eastern hemisphere and 8% sequentially in Latin America. Year over year, North American revenues rose about 24%, Latin American revenues dipped 14% and eastern hemisphere revenues fell 9.6%.

On a GAAP basis, the firm posted a quarterly net loss of $32 million ($0.04 per share) compared with a net loss of $149 million ($0.17 per share) in the first quarter of 2016. Adjusted net income totaled $34 million for the quarter compared with $35 million in the same period last year.

President Jeff Miller said:

We are in the midst of a unique and challenging cycle with very different dynamics between the North American and international markets. We are the execution company. I am excited by the activity I see in North America and confident in our ability to manage through any challenges in the international markets

The company did not provide guidance in its earnings release, but second-quarter 2017 consensus estimates call for EPS of $0.15 on revenues of $4.79 billion. For the full year, EPS is forecast at $0.95 on revenues of $19.83 billion.

Analysts’ forecast for Halliburton’s first quarter dropped sharply during the period. When fourth-quarter 2016 results were announced, first-quarter estimates called for EPS of $0.11 on revenues of $4.32 billion. For the full year, EPS was forecast at $1.10 on revenues of $19.25 billion.

Just a month ago the earnings estimate for the first quarter was $0.24 per share. In a conference call, CEO Lesar warned that the company would be adding about 2,000 jobs and that the company would “frontload” costs to expand, meaning weaker profits in the short-term but better performance in the longer term.

Halliburton’s stock closed at $47.06 on Friday, down about 1.3% for the day. Shares traded up about 1.3% in Monday’s premarket session at $47.68. The stock’s 52-week range is $38.24 to $58.78. The consensus 12-month price target was $63.36 before this latest report.