Halliburton's Potential Asbestos Involvement Spooks Goldman - TheStreet

Goldman Sachs

analyst Terry Darling is scared of the pressure.

In fact, that was why he removed

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

from Goldman's recommended for purchase list, downgrading the company to market perform. After the market closed last night, Halliburton announced that it may assume asbestos liability for

Harbison-Walker

, spun off from

Dresser Industries

in 1992. Dresser is now a unit of Halliburton, the oilfield services company previously run by Vice President

Dick Cheney

.

The pressure Darling fears is possible price pressure on the company's stock that may accompany getting mixed up in asbestos litigation. The analyst doesn't think that the assumption of Harbison-Walker's liability "substantially increases HAL's financial risks," and he praised the company for its improving operating performance. Darling even said a second-quarter upside earnings surprise is likely. Still, the risks associated with asbestos were enough for him to downgrade the shares.

Specialty chemical company

W.R. Grace

(GRA) - Get Report

was

recently forced into bankruptcy as a result of asbestos litigation. Earlier this week, building materials maker

USG

(USG)

became the latest casualty of asbestos lawsuits when it filed for protection from its creditors.

Shares of Halliburton are up 2.5% year-to-date, but have been on a downward trend since the end of May. The stock has fallen 24.5% since May 21 and today dropped 4.1% to $35.66.