Although oil prices are pressured at the start of the first full trading day under President Trump, Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Free Report investors need not worry about the company's in-line quarter to end the fiscal year 2016 because they will benefit in the long run.
"While the company's geographic mix is a near-term headwind to positive estimate revisions, we continue to believe that longer-term investors will be rewarded for their patience and expect strong earnings growth," BMO Capital Markets Analyst Daniel Boyd said in a research note on Monday.
On Friday, the Action Alerts PLUS holding reported a relatively in-line quarter. Adjusted earnings of $0.27 a share met analysts' forecasts while revenue of $7.1 billion barely surpassed estimates. Schlumberger, which operates in 85 countries, said its revenue was driven by strong activity in the Middle East and North America, but that was largely offset by continued weakness in Latin America and seasonal activity declines in Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Africa.
Although international weakness weighed on the results for the most recent quarter, the market should see improvement throughout the fiscal year 2017.
"Visibility for the full year of 2017 is still not all the way where we would like it to be, but what is clear is that the recovery is on its way in all markets and all markets have now reached a bottom," CEO Paal Kibsgaard said during a conference call with analysts on Friday. "Excluding the seasonal slowdown in the first quarter, it should be up from here in basically all markets, but the pace and timing are still somewhat uncertain."
Kibsgaard elaborated saying the international business is "like a highly-compressed coiled spring," and although key market segments such as exploration and deepwater are at record lows, the company expects that "trends can only be positive from this point on."
"We expect international growth to resume as early as the second quarter of 2017 and for Schlumberger to begin paving the path for delivering on its incremental margin target of at least 65%," BMO's Boyd said.
Beyond the expected seasonality, Stephen Gengaro, managing director at Loop Capital Markets, anticipates rising sequential results over at least the next two years. The firm reiterated its Buy rating on Schlumberger shares and increased its price target to $97 from $91.
Looking at the North America market, pricing for directional drilling, drill bits and other drilling products has already improved, noted Credit Suisse Analyst James Wicklund in a research note on Monday. Wicklund expects pumping prices to strengthen in the first quarter.
Despite the near-term geographical headwinds, Wicklund says, Schlumberger is still the "best proven through-cycle business in oilfield services." The firm rates Schlumberger at Outperform and boosted its price target by $1 to $95.
Action Alerts PLUS portfolio manager Jim Cramer also holds the view that Schlumberger is "best of breed." He, however, is waiting for levels near or under $80 before he adds back to his position, he told subscribers in a note Monday.
Shares of Schlumberger were lower during the trading session on Monday, down by 2.5%, as crude oil prices were lower on a weaker dollar and Friday's surprisingly massive addition in rigs as reported by Baker Hughes (BHI) .
WTI crude for March delivery was down by about 0.4%, trading at around $53.01, while Brent crude futures fell by approximately 0.1% to $55.454 at 1:20 p.m. ET.
As a result of the tumbling oil prices, the PHLX Oil Service Sector (OSX) was dropping by 2.8%. Shares of other oil majors including ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Free Report and Chevron (CVX) - Get Free Report were also down. (Chevron is scheduled to report earnings on Friday; analysts are looking for earnings of $0.64 a share on revenue of $31.71 billion.)
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Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long SLB stock.