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Schlumberger Off Even as Profit and Revenue Beat Estimates

CEO Olivier Le Peuch at oil-services giant Schlumberger says the stage is set for oil demand to recover. The shares on Friday are lower.
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Schlumberger  (SLB) - Get Schlumberger N.V. Report, the world's largest oil-services provider, beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue expectations.

The shares, though, at last check were down 2.7% to $23.53.

Schlumberger reported net income of $374 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $333 million, or 24 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. The latest adjusted earnings came to 22 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of 17 cents.

Revenue totaled $5.53 billion, down nearly a third from $8.23 billion a year earlier but exceeding the FactSet forecast of $5.24 billion. 

CEO Olivier Le Peuch said that oil prices have risen, bolstered by recent supply-led policy at OPEC+, the covid-19-vaccine rollout, and multinational economic stimulus actions. He said these factors are driving optimism that oil demand will recover throughout 2021.

"We believe this sets the stage for oil demand to recover to 2019 levels no later than 2023, or earlier as per recent industry analysts’ reports, reinforcing a multiyear cycle recovery as the global economy strengthens," Le Peuch said.

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Absent a setback in these macro assumptions, Le Peuch said, "this will translate to meaningful activity increases both in North America and internationally."

"On the back of our high-graded and restructured business portfolio, we see a clear path to achieve double-digit margins in North America and visible international margin improvement in 2021," he said.

The economic shutdown stemming from the coronavirus has taken a toll on the energy sector as travel was restricted in an effort to contain the potentially deadly disease. 

The Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday that 100 oil and gas companies went bankrupt in 2020.

A number of oil and oil-service companies were sliding on Friday, including Halliburton  (HAL) - Get Halliburton Company Report, which was down 2.7%, ConocoPhillips  (COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report, down 2.8%, and Occidental Petroleum  (OXY) - Get Occidental Petroleum Corporation Report, which was off 4.2%.

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