Baker Hughes, Weatherford Continue Winning Streak for Oilfield Services Companies (BHI, WFT, HAL, SLB, NOV, CHK, OIH)

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The oilfield services companies are on a roll. Well, sort of. Expectations had been lowered so much coming into this earnings season that every one is able to clear the lowered bar. Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) and Weatherford International Inc. (NYSE: WFT) took their turns today. Last week Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) made it look easy. National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) is scheduled to report before the market opens tomorrow.

The lowered expectations were the result of production slowdowns by natural gas producers like Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) that have been bedeviled by low natural gas prices. The slowdown has pushed down rig rates as the services companies seek to keep busy.

Baker Hughes may have been the bigger surprise today. The company had been tamping down EPS expectations for the whole quarter. The initial estimate for first quarter EPS came in at $1.25, gradually sinking to $0.80. Baker Hughes reported EPS of $0.86 today on revenues of $5.36 billion, which also topped the consensus estimate of $5.22 billion.

Weatherford actually missed estimates today, but the company’s upbeat outlook made up for the misses. The company posted adjusted EPS of $0.25 versus an estimate of $0.28. Revenue totaled $3.6 billion versus an estimate of $3.64 billion. Weatherford’s EPS was more than twice what it reported in the same period a year ago and revenues were up 26%.

Weatherford forecast second quarter earnings of $0.24-$0.26, a penny below the consensus estimate of $0.27 and the company expects “modest” revenue and operating income growth for the full year compared with 2011. The company believes it is well-positioned to take advantage of increased activity in Canada and some US oil basins.

Baker Hughes plans to cut capital expenditures by $400 million for the year and the company said it will solve its supply chain issues this quarter. The company did not offer further guidance for the second quarter, but the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $0.77 on revenues of $5.24 billion.

Halliburton and Schlumberger both topped lowered estimates last week, and National Oilwell Varco is slated to post EPS of $1.39 on revenues of $4.29 billion tomorrow. The company’s EPS estimate is actually higher than the initial estimate of $1.36 and the revenue estimate is more than 25% higher than actual revenue in the same period a year ago.

Baker Hughes’ shares are up 6.7% at $43.85 in a 52-week range of $39.40-$81.00.

Weatherford’s shares are up 3.9% at $14.23 in a 52-week range of $10.85-$22.76.

National Oilwell Varco shares are up 1.9% at $78.74 in a 52-week range of $47.97-$87.72.

Halliburton’s shares are up 2.4% at $33.73 in a 52-week range of $27.21-$57.77, and Schlumberger’s shares are up 2.8% at $73.15 in a 52-week range of $54.79-$95.53.

The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (AMEX: OIH) is up 2% at $40.22 in a 52-week range of $35.80-$45.14.

Paul Ausick