It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Halliburton Company HAL. Shares have added about 4.5% in that time frame.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is HAL due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.
Halliburton reported in-line first quarter profit after robust North American drilling activity on the back of oil pricing strength were offset by problems in Venezuela and frack sand delivery delays.
The company's income from continuing operations (adjusted for Venezuela write-downs) came in at 41 cents per share, same as the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Moreover, revenues of $5,740 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,760 million.
However, Halliburton joined fellow oil services majors Schlumberger and Baker Hughes, a GE Company, in affirming increased activity in U.S. shale, driven by strong oil and gas production in response to an improving crude environment.
Operating income from the Completion and Production segment was $500 million, significantly higher than the year-ago level of $147 million. The division’s performance was helped by continued growth in the North American land drilling business. Further, Halliburton experienced a bump in the Europe/Africa/CIS completion services, while stimulation activity in the Middle East were higher as well.
However, the segment operating income could not match our consensus estimate of $534 million. The shortfall could be attributed to cost inflation triggered by increased fracking sand pricing. Rising prices of sand – used to hydraulically fracture new wells – increased the expense associated with the drilling of a new shale well and put upward pressure on the cost of contractors like Halliburton.
As it is, Halliburton had to shell out more to purchase the sand from spot markets to minimize the impact on client completion timelines after extreme weather and rail shut-downs disrupted deliveries.
Meanwhile, Drilling and Evaluation unit profit improved from $122 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $188 million this year. The outperformance was on account of higher drilling activity in the Eastern Hemisphere and North America.
But the segment income was below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $180 million. Results were hampered by lower activity – primarily across various product lines – in Latin America, especially Venezuela.
Halliburton’s capital expenditure in the first quarter was $501 million. As of Mar 31, 2018, the company had approximately $2,332 million in cash/cash equivalents and $10,428 million in long-term debt, representing a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 55.4%.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates. There have been five revisions higher for the current quarter compared to three lower.
At this time, HAL has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the momentum front with a D. The stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Our style scores indicate that the stock is more suitable for growth investors than value investors.
Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, HAL has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.
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