What: Shares of Core Laboratories (NYSE:CLB) climbed more than 10% by market close on Friday. While there was no news on the day, the company's earnings posted the day before had shown that it's still profitable.
So what: As more companies report earnings, we're starting to get a clearer picture of what 2016 will look like for the energy industry. According to CEO David Demshur, the upcoming couple of quarters will remain rough for producers and services companies, but we should start to see a recovery in the second half of the year as lack of investment will lead to even faster decline rates at existing fields. This suggests that there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to oil prices, and if that's the case, then investors may be interested in Core Labs' stock again.
What's also a possible reason that investors are getting back into this stock is that the company's earnings were nothing to scoff at. Despite declining revenue and earnings, it is still converting every dollar of revenue to $0.24 of free cash flow, which it's using to pay shareholders a dividend as well as continue to buy back shares. If the company can do this while the market is so rough, then that should give investors some confidence about its resiliency.
Now what: Let's also keep this most recent climb in perspective. The 10% spike on Friday is only a small blip in the close to two-year decline in Core Labs' share price, so investors certainly shouldn't feel like they have missed out when looking at this jump.
The longer-term focus for Core's investors now is to see whether the company is still able to churn out free cash flow at a high rate of revenue as the downturn persists. They should also keep an eye on the horizon for an eventual pickup in oil prices and drilling activity.
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