NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Patterson-UTI Energy  (PTEN - Get Report) plunged 8.49% to $15.79 in morning trading Wednesday as oil prices plunged.

WTI crude was down 2.98% to $44.85 as of 10:29 a.m., while Brent crude was down 1.51% to $48.85, according to CNBC.

Oil prices, which have fallen more than 50% since June 2014, have fallen to their lowest point in nearly six years in recent weeks amid a global oversupply. The supply glut coupled with aggressive exploration and production from many of the world's largest oil companies and OPEC's unwillingness to cut production have held down oil prices.

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More than 2.6 million shares had changed hands as of 10:41 a.m., compared to the daily average volume of 5,446,870.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC as a "hold" with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC (PTEN) 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 revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • PTEN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • PTEN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.24 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.08, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC reported lower earnings of $1.28 versus $1.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.57 versus $1.28).
  • The gross profit margin for PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.48%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.88% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $206.15 million or 24.58% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PTEN Ratings Report

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