Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) jumped just over 11% in April on the back of some better than expected earnings results, announced progress on the Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) acquisition, and some general positive notes from the energy sector as oil prices rose significantly throughout the month.
So what: Wall Street analysts were predicting quite a bit of doom and gloom in Halliburton and other oil services companies' earnings this past quarter, but surprisingly the actual news for most wasn't as bad as expected. Halliburton's $0.49-per-share earnings, excluding its $1.21 billion asset writedown, beat estimates by 32% as the company has been slashing head count and cutting expenses to remain profitable. Also, the company announced that it plans to sell its drill bits, horizontal drilling, and logging and measuring while drilling activities, helping to pave the way for its $35 billion acquisition of Baker Hughes, which is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.
Now what: The recent rally in oil prices combined with Halliburton's recent results seems to suggest that perhaps the oil sell-off that took place earlier in the year was a bit much. However, one thing that cannot be ignored is that the total rig count in the U.S. has declined by almost 40% this year. Halliburton -- and Baker Hughes, for that matter -- has a very large presence in the North American market, and much of its success is related more to drilling activity rather than prices themselves. Perhaps producers in the U.S. will start to pick up activity now that prices are above $60 per barrel, but that remains to be seen.
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