Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) - Get Report shares finished slightly higher on Friday, Jan. 19, after the company posted a loss of about $2.26 billion during the fourth quarter as the oilfield service giant incurred charges totaling approximately $2.7 billion, including a $938 million write-down on the value of its Venezuelan investment.
Schlumberger shares rose 0.08% to $76.42. The stock had fallen in premarket trading, rebounded during the morning trading session before sinking lower and then rising again. Shares were falling slightly in after-hours trading.
The Houston-based company reported a net loss of $1.63 on a per share basis, for the period ending Dec. 31, compared to $204 million, or 15 cents a share, a year prior.
Adjusted earnings of 48 cents a share on revenue of $8.2 billion topped analysts' forecasts of 44 cents per share on revenue of $8.1 billion.
Loop Capital Managing Director Stephen Gengaros aid that Schlumberger's better-than-expected fourth-quarter operating earnings combined with an improved macro outlook "should be a plus for shares."
Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan analyst Sean Meakim said the fourth-quarter results were "mostly neutral for the stock," but noted that "execution remains strong and growth opportunities are emerging."
For the full-year, the company reported a loss of $1.5 billion, or $1.08 per share. Adjusted full-year earnings came in at $1.50. Revenue of $30.4 billion increased 9% year-over-year.
Chairman and Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said that 2018 would be "the first year of growth in all parts of our global operations since 2014," as exploration and production companies predict 15% to 20% growth in North American investments this year, while international spending is expected to grow about 5%.
"In North America, 2018 shale oil production is set for another year of strong growth, as the positive oil market sentiments will likely increase both investment appetite and availability of financing," Kibsgaard said in a statement.
"The oil market is now in balance and the previous oversupply discount is gradually being replaced by a market tightness premium, which makes us increasingly positive on the global outlook for our business," the CEO continued.
The International Energy Agency said in a Jan. 19 report that the 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas as "explosive growth in the U.S. and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico."
Given the dire economic conditions and recent political developments in Venezuela, Schlumberger decided it would be appropriate to write down the value of its business in the country. The company will maintain its presence in Venezuela and work to collects amounts owed to it, Kibsgaard said.
While the outlook for the year ahead looks to be largely beneficial for the company with a market capitalization of $106 billion, management highlighted some transitory effects that could affect earnings for the first quarter, which may have caused some jitters with investors.
"Moving closer at the first quarter, this will be a transitory quarter for us, where we expect the sequential decline in EPS to be 2 cents to 3 cents more than the normal seasonal growth," said Kibsgaard.
To be sure, Kibsgaard said that he is "already seeing a strong acceleration in operating income growth for the second quarter."
For TheStreet's Jim Cramer, who owns Schlumberger for his Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, it is the growth in the year ahead that is encouraging. Cramer said that he would be a buyer on any weakness.
"While the sellers may be ringing the register on the stock's terrific year-to-date performance, we believe that they will miss the bigger gain that should occur as the requirement for Schlumberger's services increases throughout the year," Cramer and the AAP team wrote in a Jan. 19 note to subscribers.
Schlumberger shares have risen 12% year-to-date. There are 27 Buys and 12 Holds on the stock, according to Bloomberg data.
More of What's Trending on TheStreet: