It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that, after years of dry times, the energy industry has underinvested in production capacity — and now, with prices elevated, that’s starting to change, notes Mike Cintolo, editor of Cabot Growth Investor.
Halliburton (HAL) needs no introduction, as it has its hands in many fracking-related cookie jars, with tons of products, software and technology that help with reservoir evaluation, well construction, completions and more — both here and overseas.
And it sees industry boom times ahead: In 2022, the firm thinks customer spending will lift 25% from the prior year in the U.S. and Canada, while mid-teens growth is likely overseas, and both of these are likely the tip of the iceberg.
Indeed, the firm says that the North America completions equipment market is approaching 90% utilization, and Halliburton itself is currently sold out, with pricing moving nicely higher.
Of course, things can always change in a hurry in the oil patch, but there’s no question business is already good and getting better in a hurry — in Q4, Halliburton saw sales leap 32% and earnings double, leading to a nice boost to the dividend (1.5% yield) and causing analysts to trip over themselves to hike expectations.
Wall Street now sees earnings up north of 60% this year and another 30% next, and the way trends go in the energy sector, those will likely prove very conservative.
As for the stock, HAL isn’t going to be the subject of cocktail parties, but it looks like it’s just starting a good run — HAL went nowhere from March of last year through mid-January, but it took off on earnings and has been unwilling to give up any ground since. That doesn’t mean a pullback won’t come, but if it does, our guess is it should prove buyable.