NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When compared to rivals Baker Hughes (BHI) and Schlumberger (SLB), I've never believed that shares of Halliburton (HAL) presented any immediate value -- not when the stock traded at a price-to-earnings ratio that is 5 points higher than Schlumberger, which is considered the best of bunch.
Though Schlumberger has always enjoyed more press coverage, Halliburton has never been too far behind. Following the company's recent, better-than-expected earnings report, I believe Halliburton is now in one of the best positions it has ever been, given how well management is performing internationally. Now that there are clear signs that sluggish rig counts have finally bottomed, shares of Halliburton, which have already gained 32% on the year, may yet be cheap.
Investors in this sector understand how brutal the industry has been. So it came as no surprise that Halliburton managed 1% year-over-year revenue growth in the quarter. But unlike most sectors, the year-over-year comparisons very rarely ever matter. Always looking for signs of improvement, analysts make their assessments by focusing more on the quarter-over-quarter basis. To that end, Halliburton was more "energized" as revenue grew by more than 5% since the April quarter.As with Schlumberger and Baker Hughes, weakness in North America has been tough to overcome. But Halliburton managed to grow revenue 3% sequentially, which was consistent with the performances of both Schlumberger and Baker Hughes. But unlike both rivals, Halliburton showed plenty of strength in international markets, growing 14% year over year and 8% sequentially.
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