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Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) Earnings Tumble Amid Weak Demand

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Halliburton Company  saw its second quarter earnings take a 93 percent dive. Due to very weak demand for its oil-and-gas drilling and fracking business, especially in North America, the company saw falling profits.

Oil Refinery

Halliburton Earnings Fall, Executives Still Optimistic

Over the past 12 months, the energy sectors in both Canada and the United States have been facing substantial turmoil due to tumbling crude oil prices worldwide. The U.S. has experienced it the most as shale producers have started to curtail their operations to make up for the lost earnings.

Since clients have begun to reduce their budgets for exploration and production efforts, Halliburton had to undergo a restructuring, cost-cutting efforts. Two of these included slashing jobs – it announced an eight percent reduction of its workforce in February – and providing significant discounts.

In the latest fiscal quarter, Halliburton  reported North American revenues decreased 39 percent to $2.67 billion. Halliburton posted a profit of just $54 million, which equates to six cents per share. This is down from $774 million, or 91 cents per share, from the previous year.

Even with the declines, however, shares jumped more than two percent to just under $41 during the Monday trading session. One of the reasons is because revenues and per-share earnings beat analysts’ expectations.

A Recovery Coming for Oil Market?

Although oil prices are trading under $60, Halliburton does project a recovery in its oil-fields in the coming months. Dave Lesar, CEO of Halliburton, and Jeff Miller, President of Halliburton, told investors and analysts in a conference call Monday that the number of rigs will likely remain the same while the oil drill recovery will be a gradual one.

We expect the global markets will remain transitional, and in these times, operational execution is an even more critical source of differentiation,” said Miller in a statement. “Our financial results reflect our strong execution culture, and we remain focused on delivering reliable, best-in-class service quality for our customers.”

Lesar described the current commodities market as “a damn tough market,” adding it’s “one of the toughest ones that I’ve ever been through.” He does believe North America will provide “the greatest upside” once the recovery takes place.

Gary Ross, the founder of consultants PIRA Energy Group, who has been credited in calling the 2014 oil slump, believes oil prices will return to $100 a barrel in 2020. Ross argued that markets aren’t as oversupplied as believed.

Meanwhile, Halliburton  is still in the process of purchasing Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BH), a smaller competitor in the oil field services niche. The deal has been agreed upon but it’s still seeking approval from anti-trust regulators. Baker Hughes is scheduled to report its second-quarter numbers Tuesday.

Year-to-date, Halliburton stock has been trading in positive territory as it’s up 4.3 percent.

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