I'm not suggesting that the worst is over, only that any prolonged weakness in North America is not as dire. In that regard, management deserves a considerable amount of credit for having navigated such a brutal environment, especially for the 15% sequential growth in operating income, which outperformed Schlumberger by 2%.
It wasn't a blowout quarter, not by any stretch. But the company did what it had to do to beat both on revenue and earnings estimates. There's not much more that an investor can ask for, especially given the overall state of this industry. Investors should also be encouraged by the fact that the company announced a $5 billion share buyback program, which indicated an increase level of confidence by management that the worst is over.
I wouldn't expect that capital commitments of that size would have been made if management was worried about preserving the cash to battle the weakness in, say, North America. What's more, the $5 billion stock repurchase program, which now goes along with the company's 39% dividend increase (announced in April), makes Halliburton one of the best shareholder-friendly stocks on the market. It is clear that management is committed to returning value to investors.
That level of commitment is tough to overlook, especially with management now posting better operational results, which also coincides with sustained growth in international markets.
The bottom line is that regardless of the industry's direction, Halliburton is going to be around for a very long time. Given the fact that the oil services industry has yet to fully rebound, I believe now is the perfect time to buy the stock, which is a sure bet to reach $50 per share.
At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.