The first of the major oilfield services providers reported second quarter earnings Wednesday, and the results were better than expected, as Halliburton (HAL) - Get Report recorded an adjusted EPS loss of 14 cents on revenues of $3.84 billion.
The company also said it sees an improving business environment.
"We believe the North America market has turned," Lesar continued. "We expect to see a modest uptick in rig count during the second half of the year. With our growth in market share during the downturn we believe we are best positioned to benefit from any recovery, including a modest one," chairman and CEO Dave Lesar said in a press release.
Halliburton beat consensus estimates for the period of 19 cents per share loss on $3.8 billion in sales, and shares responded positively early Wednesday, up 35 cents in pre-market trading to $45.34 per share from Tuesday's $44.99 close.
But add back in the $3.5 billion merger break-up fee paid to competitor Baker Hughes (BHI) , a $148 million pre-tax loss resulting from a financing agreement with its primary customer in Venezuela, and severance costs and asset impairments to the tune of $423 million, along with some other special pre-tax losses, and you get an operating loss for Halliburton of $3.73 per share, or $3.9 billion, for the quarter.
Leading into the call, analysts were focused on Halliburton's results from North American and their view of improving pricing and competition in the space. Halliburton said Wednesday it recorded $1.5 billion in sales in North America, a 15% decrease from the prior period. The company reported an operating loss of $124 million in the region.
Internationally, Halliburton recorded second quarter revenue of $2.3 billion, a 4% decrease from the year-ago period, and $246 million in operating income, a decrease of $64 million from the first quarter.
Lesar said the decrease in sales in North America outperformed the average rig count, which it calculated at a 23% decline for the quarter, but said the number of rigs has increased in recent weeks signaling "operator confidence in stabilizing commodity prices."
The outlook was just what Tudor, Pickering, Holt analysts needed Wednesday, citing Halliburton's "relatively shallow" North American sales decline as reason to believe the company is indeed grabbing up more market share through the downturn.
TPH had called for an EPS loss of 22 cents versus the Street's 19 cents prediction. The firm, which rates HAL as a Buy, says the better-than-expected earnings are largely a result of the company's international operating margin "hanging tough in double digit territory" at 11% despite continue pricing pressure.
"HAL calling turn in NAM market...time will tell the pace/magnitude, but we're sticking with HAL stock," the analysts opined Wednesday.