What to Expect From Halliburton’s Earnings Report

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Oilfield services firm Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is scheduled to report second-quarter results before markets open Wednesday. Analysts are looking for a per-share loss of $0.19 and revenues of $3.76 billion. In the same quarter last year, Halliburton posted earnings per share of $0.44 and revenues of $5.92 billion.

The company’s results will feel the pain of the $3.5 billion break-up fee it paid in May to Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) following the termination of Halliburton’s acquisition of its smaller competitor. The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit last April to stop the merger, claiming that it would eliminate competition in nearly two dozen parts of the oilfield services business.

The deal with Baker Hughes was announced in November 2014, shortly after the plunge in crude oil prices began. The value of Halliburton’s offer fell from around $35 billion to about $28 billion as services businesses were hit hard by collapsing crude oil prices. Only since early June have working rigs begun being added by U.S. onshore producers as crude oil prices briefly broke through the $50 a barrel level and have held above $45

Halliburton’s problem, which is the same one facing Baker Hughes, Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) and other services companies, is that even though demand is improving, it’s not strong by any means and producers will shop around for the lowest price.

And there is unlikely to be any particularly good news expected for the third quarter. U.S. gasoline stockpiles remain stubbornly high, and there is little expectation that inventories will be drawn down enough to raise demand for more gasoline and, by extension, crude oil. That means no major upswing in drilling and another tight quarter for the services companies.

Analysts at Jefferies added Halliburton to its Franchise Picks list, noting that the shares are down 50% from highs of two years ago and that it is a great stock to buy at these low prices. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $56, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price target is lower at $46.03. The shares closed Monday at $45.61.

Nomura Securities has raised its price target on Halliburton stock from $44 to $53, but Societe Generale downgraded shares from Buy to Hold and cut its price target from $50 to $46.

Shares traded Tuesday afternoon at $45.07, down about 1.2%, in a 52-week range of $27.64 to $46.69.

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