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Offshore drilling fuels gains

Shares of Schlumberger (SLB), the world's largest oilfield services company, rose Fri. after it beat Q4 estimates on higher demand for offshore drilling, the 5th time in a row it's topped analyst views. EPS fell 2.7% to $1.08, topping by a penny. Sales grew 1.8% to $11.17 bil, well ahead of Wall Street's target of $10.82 bil. CEO Paal Kibsgaard said in a statement that land-based drilling in N. America slowed, but that was more than offset by higher activity in the Gulf of Mexico, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Shares rose 4.3% to 76.50.