National Oilwell Varco (NOV - Get Report) shares jumped about 5% at the opening bell Tuesday, Feb. 7, after the oilfield equipment and services company reported a narrower-than-anticipated loss of 15 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $1.69 billion.
A consensus of analysts surveyed by FactSet were calling for a loss of 29 cents a share on revenue of $1.63 billion.
Before adjusting for $706 million worth of one-time charges primarily associated with inventory charges, facility closures, and severance, NOV's fourth-quarter loss came to $714 million, or $1.90 a share.
As oil prices clawed back above $50 a barrel following OPEC's Nov. 30 decision to cut production in 2017, NOV managed to squeeze out a 3% fourth-quarter revenue increase over the third quarter.
National Oilwell Varco's fourth-quarter revenue, however, was down 38% from the same quarter a year earlier.
NOV's beat comes at a time when analysts are calling for a revitalization in the U.S. onshore drilling market.
Indeed, Baker Hughes (BHI) reported 17 rigs came online last week, with Oklahoma's Anadarko Basin and West Texas' Permian Basin leading the way.
Baker Hughes, an oilfield services behemoth that is currently working through a tie-up with General Electric's (GE - Get Report) oil and gas unit and has been called a potential suitor for NOV, has reported the addition of 253 rigs since July.
Stifel Nicolaus analysts anticipate the relentless rig count build -- the count has fallen just twice in the past 32 weeks -- is a sign that incremental supply from U.S. activity ramp could offset OPEC's cut and have a dampening effect on oil prices.
While lower oil prices are good for no one in the industry, including National Oilwell Varco, the current boom in activity is bound to have a positive impact on oilfield equipment and service providers' near-term financials.
Still, analysts surveyed by FactSet anticipate a first-quarter loss of 22 cents a share for NOV on flat quarter-over-quarter revenue of $1.68 billion.
Overall, National Oilwell Varco should lose less money in 2017, but analysts do not expect the company to return to profitability until 2018 as much of the oilfield services industry works to regain pricing ground given up during this two-year commodity downturn.