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What: Shares of oil-and-gas drilling specialist Pioneer Energy Services (NYSE:PES) were booming today, jumping as much as 19% after reporting a strong fourth quarter.
So what: The energy services provider topped earnings estimates by $0.10, posting per-share profits of $0.06 on expectations of a $0.04 loss. Pioneer also grew 12% to $227.9 million, beating the Street's projections of $222.6 million. Pioneer added six rigs during the quarter, and CEO William Stacy Locke credited the quarter's success on the company's new-build drilling rig program, saying the rigs have "reduced initial startup costs" and "will generate substantial cash flow."
Now what: Pioneer shares have floundered over the past couple of years despite the general boom in oil and gas drilling, and it's tempting to think it will be better positioned with the new-build drilling program set to be completed at the end of the quarter. Still, Pioneer has more than $500 million in debt, which it is planning to pay off, and analysts are expecting flat growth and almost no profits this year. I'd like to see a few more earnings beats before I'm convinced.
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