Better late than never, I suppose. On Monday, Standard & Poor's raised its credit rating on Halliburton
Perhaps it was appropriate for the rating change to take several months. In contrast to the minute-to-minute attention span of the equities markets, debt ratings changes typically occur at a much more measured pace.
But the Halliburton news also caused me to revisit the actions of the oilfield services group in the face of the market's recent turbulence and its nearly hour-by-hour swings. Those swings, coupled with the ongoing changes in crude oil and natural gas prices, could have bounced the group around like dinghies in a deluge. Fortunately, they didn't.
If you look at the bigger movers in the group over the past wild week, you'll likely note that deepwater driller Diamond Offshore
So it appears that, in the face of rampaging hurricanes, sliding natural gas prices, concerns about lower oil and gas demand in the U.S., and the end to the vaunted "driving season," investors may -- just may -- be looking at the all-important energy services sector as a longer-term phenomenon.
Given a longer-term perspective, the energy sector -- including the services side -- faces all manner of challenges that almost certainly will place a floor under the demand for its goods and services. These challenges include slowing production levels in a number of key energy horizons, increasing energy demand in the developing nations, political shenanigans in several of the major producing nations, and the constant need to hunt for oil and gas in deeper water or more remote and technologically challenging locations.
I admit that one week doesn't make for a trend. Nevertheless, given the significance of oilfield services, I live in hope that many of the companies mentioned above will soon be treated by the market as the steady-demand entities that they are. Were that to occur, the group just might be an excellent place for investors concerned about financial whiplash.
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