Shares of oilfield services giant Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Report will begin trading ex-dividend on Monday, Nov. 30. That's the last day management of the company will finalize its roster of shareholders to whom it will mail dividend payments. To qualify for a dividend check, investors must own shares of the Houston-based company on or before its ex-dividend date. Investors of record as of Wednesday, Dec. 2 will receive their dividend payments on Jan. 8, 2016.
Owing to weak oil prices, which are still at historic lows, Schlumberger has been under pressure. Shares are down around 10% in 2015, while losing 15% in the past six months. And if you've held the company's stock over the past 12 months, you're in the hole almost 20%. But Schlumberger does pay a solid 50-cent quarterly dividend. Based on its current stock price of around $77, that dividend yields 2.59% annually -- 59 basis points higher than the 2% yield paid out by the average company in the S&P 500 (SPX) index.
This quarter will mark the fifth consecutive period during which Schlumberger will make made its 50-cent cash payout, which has been raised almost 140% since 2010.
Beyond its dividend, there are reasons to believe in the company long term.
It's true, Schlumberger is forced to adjust its business to reflect the "new normal" in the sector -- one hurt by lower energy spending. The global glut of oil that has pressured the industry's revenue and profits is much to blame. But Schlumberger, which supplies technology, project management and information solutions to the oil and gas industry, continues to focus on efficiency improvements in areas like North America.
Having beaten Wall Street's earnings-per-share estimates in six straight quarters, it would seem Schlumberger has figured out ways to offset weakness in its business to grow both revenue and profits. Analysts have assigned the stock with a consensus buy rating and an average 12-month price target of $90. Combined with its solid dividend, Schlumberger is one of the better ways to play a rebound in energy.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.