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Energy Demand Boosts Halliburton

Profits rise 34% as energy services offset a decline in Middle East-related work.
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reported a 34% jump in first-quarter earnings Thursday as higher revenue from the company's energy-services division offset a decline in Iraq-related projects.

The Houston-based oilfield-services company's net income rose to $488 million, or 91 cents a share, from $365 million, or 72 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings from continuing operations rose to $481 million, or 90 cents a share, from $359 million, or 71 cents a share.

The earnings beat Wall Street's expectation of 88 cents a share, based on Thomson First Call's average analyst estimate. Revenue, though, missed analyst targets. Halliburton posted a top line of $5.21 billion, up from $4.78 billion last year, but short of analysts' expectation of $5.62 billion.

Revenue from the Halliburton's energy-services group rose to $2.94 billion from $2.18 billion, bolstered by business strength in North America, as higher energy prices led to increased production by oil and gas customers.

KBR, Halliburton's engineering and construction unit, posted a 13% revenue decline to $2.3 billion, which the company attributed to decreased military-support activities in Iraq. The company's Iraq-related work contributed about $1.1 billion to revenue in the first quarter.

KBR, which has been the subject of controversy due to probes into its Iraq work, last week filed for an initial public offering of up to $550 million in stock. The offering represents about 20% of Halliburton's stake in the business.

In after-hours trading, Halliburton shares recently shed $1, or 1.2%, to $81.80.