The better approach on Baker Hughes would be to wait and see. That's not a slight. While Baker Hughes looks meaningfully improved, the company still lacks the punching power of Schlumberger and Halliburton. I don't think the first-quarter report, which included a 2% decline in revenue, did enough to merit higher optimism -- not when Schlumberger posted 8% year-over-year revenue growth. For that matter, even though Halliburton didn't excite the Street, the company still posted a modest year-over-year increase. So what exactly is Credit Suisse seeing in BHI that I'm not? My guess is it is looking at the fact that of the three, Baker Hughes was the only one to post sequential growth, albeit by less than 1%, which supports the "bottom" theory. In other words, Baker Hughes can't get any worse from here. Still, does it deserve 13% increase in the share price, especially when net income declined 30% year over year? This is where Baker Hughes can benefit from better diversification as North American weakness really took a toll on the company's performance. Granted, the company is working hard to build its international market position. But with North America being such an overhang, I'll feel much better to see those efforts accelerated.
Craighead touched upon some very important points. While the overall health of the industry is not of the "quick fix" variety, investors have to be pleased that management is moving the company in the right direction. Baker Hughes is actually showing decent progress. But the company is still behind Schlumberger and Halliburton. It's not bad company in which to be. But management has to do a better job in fixing its deficits in North America before investors are going to truly embrace this as a turnaround.