Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) is benefiting greatly this year from resumed oil and gas industry activity across North America and the rest of the world. The company's success is extending across both deepwater and onshore development. This best-in-class company with a strong leadership position in its industry reported 8% revenue growth and 15% growth in pre-tax operating profit last quarter, year over year. Year to date, revenue and pre-tax operating profits were up 7% and 18%, respectively.
As you'd expect, the stock price has risen this year, along with the improving fundamentals. While that might compel investors to be cautious, there are also reasons to be bullish on Schlumberger's future. Here are three reasons Schlumberger stock could rise.
Increasing North American activity
Schlumberger is doing well in North America, in both land and deepwater development. Overall, revenue in North America increased 6% quarter over quarter. Offshore revenue rose 8% thanks to a rebound in drilling activity. U.S. operations on land posted a double-digit increase in revenue because of increasing rig counts, as well as improved efficiency.
This matters a lot to Schlumberger, because North America represents the company's biggest geography, accounting for approximately one-third of total revenue. Revenue from North America grew 15% year over year, and should this type of growth continue in the company's most important geographic area, it will go a long way toward keeping the stock rally alive.
Strong international results
Schlumberger derives a significant portion of its total revenue from international markets, and things are also going well on this front. In fact, management stated in its most recent earnings report that growth was strongest overseas, thanks to increasing activity in many markets.
In Europe and Africa, management noted that certain markets, including Russia, improved significantly from the effects of a harsh winter. In other markets, such as the Middle East, Schlumberger pointed to an uptick in both seismic and drilling activity.
In all, the company's international revenue grew by an impressive 8% quarter over quarter. Should this type of growth continue, Schlumberger stock could continue to rise.
Increasing cash returns to shareholders
Along with its improving fundamentals, Schlumberger is committed to returning a lot of its cash flow to shareholders, through both share repurchases and dividend payments. Last quarter, Schlumberger bought back 11.5 million of its own shares for a total cost of $1.17 billion. And so far in 2014, Schlumberger raised its dividend by 28%, to its current $1.60 per share annualized. Over the past five years, Schlumberger has increased its payout by 13% compounded annually. At recent prices, Schlumberger stock yields 1.6%.
The Foolish bottom line
Shares of this leading oil and gas services provider have risen about 13% this year. That beats the performance of the broader market, and it's happening because Schlumberger is benefiting from a number of headwinds, including rising onshore and deepwater activity both in North America and internationally.
Should these trends continue, Schlumberger should have no trouble posting growth over the remainder of the year. Even better, management is committed to returning a lot of its growth back to investors through increasing share repurchases and dividend payments. With this in mind, it's reasonable to suggest that Schlumberger stock will continue its solid performance.
Bob Ciura and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.