By Houston Business Journal

Halliburton Co. shares gained traction Monday after the company said that increased natural gas drilling in the U.S. boosted second-quarter profits by more than 80 percent.

Houston-based Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) reported net profit of $480 million, or 53 cents a share in the three months ended June 30, compared to net profit of $262 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter earnings were 52 cents after excluding a gain from discontinued operations.

The jump in profits far exceeded analysts predictions of 37 cents a share.

Revenue for the second quarter increased by 15 percent to $4.4 billion, compared to $4.1 billion for the year-earlier period.

Halliburton shares closed Monday at $29.17, a gain of $1.66 or 6 percent.

Halliburton, which has seen its stock drop in recent weeks due to its relationship to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill disaster, predicted that its 2010 earnings would dip by between 5 cents to 8 cents a share due to the moratorium on new deepwater drilling imposed by the federal government.

"The tragic incident that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent suspension of deepwater drilling, we believe, will usher in a new regulatory climate and will have a profound impact on how deepwater drilling is performed," David Lesar, Halliburton chief executive officer, said in a statement.

⿿We are taking appropriate actions to mitigate the impact of the reduced activity in our Gulf of Mexico business, including redeploying our people and equipment to other areas of stable or increasing activity.⿝

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010