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slashed its fourth-quarter loss, thanks to a big revenue gain at its energy services unit.

The Houston-based company posted a net loss of $201 million, or 45 cents a share, vs. a loss of $947 million, or $2.18 a share, in the year-ago period.

The result included a loss from discontinued operations of $384 million, or 86 cents a share, from the company's settlement of asbestos claims.

Based on continuing operations, Halliburton had a profit of $183 million, or 41 cents a share, up from $146 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were expecting 48 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue fell 5% to $5.2 billion, which was "largely attributable to lower activity on government services projects in the Middle East." Halliburton's Iraq-related work contributed approximately $1.7 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter.

The energy services unit's revenue rose 21% to $2.2 billion. Revenue at its KBR business fell 17% to $3.0 billion, due to reduced government contract work.

Shares were up 39 cents, or 0.9%, to $43.13 in the premarket.