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Schlumberger (SLB) Declines 12% Quarter to Date: Here's Why

Shares of Schlumberger Limited SLB have dropped 12.2% quarter to date, underperforming the 3.4% decline of the industry.

Reasons Behind the Decline

Explorer’s Conservative Capital Spending

The average monthly price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude declined to $49.52 per barrel last December from the record high of $70.98, which was achieved in last July, per the U.S Energy Information Administration. The significant decrease in the price of the commodity convinced explorers and producers in North America to start 2019 with a conservative capital budget. Importantly, U.S. explorers are facing a constant pressure from investors for higher returns instead of production growth, thus forcing upstream energy firms to restrict capital spending through 2019.

Lower investments in oil exploration and production operations dented demand for oilfield services since the oilfield service companies help drillers efficiently drill oil wells.

Falling Rig Count

U.S. drillers have now become more efficient as they are deploying lesser rigs to expand oil and gas volumes. Since Schlumberger assists explorers and producers with drilling services and equipment, the reduction in the count of rigs being employed has hurt this oilfield service giant’s Drilling business unit.  

Pipeline Bottleneck Problem

The prevailing pipeline bottleneck problem in the Permian Basin has slackened US oil production growth. Slow growth in output has hit oilfield services players hard and is likely to persist the trend. Schlumberger too is affected on this front.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Schlumberger carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked stocks in the energy space are Enterprise Products Partners LP EPD, Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP CLMT and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation APC, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.        

Enterprise Products delivered average positive surprise of 17 % in the last four quarters.

Calumet is likely to witness earnings growth of 14.7% through 2019.

Anadarko Petroleum has average beat of 6.6% in the trailing four quarters.

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