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Where To Look For Value This Earnings Season

It’s that time again! A few weeks after the end of each calendar quarter-year, we enter what is known as earnings season, when quarterly results for corporations come thick and fast. As much as we like to kid ourselves that there is some hidden driver of stock prices that only we know, the reality is that they are simply a reflection of the past and expected future profitability of companies, which is what makes this time so important. Big energy companies usually release their results late in the season, which makes now a good time to look ahead at what to expect over the next couple of weeks.

Although the likes of Exxon (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) have yet to report, there was one energy sector earnings release this morning, and it is one that often gives clues as to what to expect. Schlumberger (SLB) reported earnings and revenue that were just about dead in line with expectations, so told us nothing really. The interesting information, however, came in their outlook. While the Houston-based oilfield services company said that U.S. shale oil had returned to a growth area there was weakness elsewhere, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico.

The immediate and obvious conclusion is that that is bad news with regard to the oil earnings to come, but that is not the case. The move away from deep water drilling and towards fracking shale rock in the U.S. has been well documented for some time. It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone that the recovery in operations…




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