What happened

Shares of oil services company Superior Energy Services (NYSE:SPN) were up 23% at 12:30 p.m. EST today. The jump comes after the company announced fourth-quarter earnings on Monday that were well ahead of analyst estimates.

So what

Superior Energy Services reported an adjusted fourth-quarter loss of $0.20 per share, which was better than analyst estimates of a $0.28 loss. Those adjustments were related to several writedowns of asset values that totaled $743 million. The company's result on a GAAP basis was a $4.85 per share loss.

Working in front of an oil pumpjack.

Image source: Getty Images.

Management also noted that it plans to allocate more of its capital spending to the international markets in 2019. The company's services and offerings outside North America have been less volatile lately and should help to improve free cash flow. 

Now what

As nice as it was to see Superior beat expectations for the quarter, it's important to keep in mind that this was a "not as bad as it could have been" kind of quarter. The company is still posting losses because a large portion of its business is in one of the most competitive spaces within oil services -- North American land drilling and well completions. It's encouraging to see the company make a larger push outside North America, but there is still a lot more work to be done before investors should seriously consider Superior Energy Services' stock.