NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Weatherford International (WFT) suddenly spiked just before the market close Thursday and the stock closed up 5.76% to $16.33 after Dow Jones reported that Halliburton (HAL) was in talks to buy Baker Hughes (BHI) .
The talks were "moving quickly," according to Dow Jones. The deal would combine two of the largest oilfield services companies in the sector.
Weatherford is a smaller company compared to the two aforementioned heavyweights, but the possibility of a merger between Halliburton and Baker Hughes energized the S&P energy sector in late afternoon trading Thursday. Weatherford could be a potential acquisition target, as well.
More than 34 million shares changed hands Thursday, compared to the average volume of 7,548,860.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates WEATHERFORD INTL PLC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate WEATHERFORD INTL PLC (WFT) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- WEATHERFORD INTL PLC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, WEATHERFORD INTL PLC continued to lose money by earning -$0.44 versus -$1.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.06 versus -$0.44).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income increased by 250.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $22.00 million to $77.00 million.
- Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $350.00 million or 7.36% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, WEATHERFORD INTL PLC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 15.01%.
- The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, WFT maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.80, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market, WEATHERFORD INTL PLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFT Ratings Report