Welcome!

News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Basic Energy Services and BJ's Restaurants

CHICAGO, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI-Free Report), Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL-Free Report), Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB-Free Report), Basic Energy Services Inc. (NYSE:BAS-Free Report) and BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq:BJRI-Free Report).

www.zacks.com. " border="0" alt="Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com. " align="middle" src="http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnvar/20101027/ZIRLOGO"/>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

U.S. Rig Count Still Rising as Nat Gas Drilling Improves

In its weekly release, Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI-Free Report) reported a rise in the U.S. rig count (number of rigs searching for oil and gas in the country). This can be primarily attributed to an increase in the tally of gas-directed rigs.

The Baker Hughes data, issued since 1944, acts as an important yardstick for energy service providers in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.

Analysis of the Data

Weekly Summary: Rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled 1,913 for the week ended Aug 15, 2014. This was up by 5 from the previous week's rig count and indicates the fourth increase in as many weeks.

The current nationwide rig count is more than double the lowest level reached in recent years (876 in the week ended Jun 12, 2009) and is well above the prior-year level of 1,791. It rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking at 2,031 in the weeks ending Aug 29 and Sep 12.

Rigs engaged in land operations ascended by 9 to 1,841, inland waters activity was down by 4 to 10 rigs, while offshore drilling remained steady at 62 units.

Natural Gas Rig Count: The natural gas rig count – which in mid-June slumped to its lowest point since May 1993 – increased for the second successive week to 321 (a gain of 5 rigs from the previous week). Despite the weekly growth, the number of gas-directed rigs is down by 60% from its recent peak of 811, achieved in 2012.

In fact, the current natural gas rig count remains 80% below its all-time high of 1,606 reached in late summer 2008. In the year-ago period, there were 388 active natural gas rigs.

Oil Rig Count: The oil rig count was up by 1 to 1,589. The current tally – the highest since Baker Hughes started breaking up oil and natural gas rig counts in 1987 – is way above the previous year's rig count of 1,397. It has recovered strongly from a low of 179 in June 2009, rising 8.9 times.

Miscellaneous Rig Count: The miscellaneous rig count (primarily drilling for geothermal energy) at 3 was down by 1 from the previous week.

Rig Count by Type: The number of vertical drilling rigs fell by 10 to 368, while the horizontal/directional rig count (encompassing new drilling technology that has the ability to drill and extract gas from dense rock formations, also known as shale formations) was up by 15 to 1,545. However, horizontal rig units increased by 12 from the last week's level to reach an all-time high of 1,329.

Gulf of Mexico(GoM): The GoM rig count remained flat at 60. The number of oil drilling rigs improved by 1 to 44, offset by a unit decrease in gas rigs to 16.

Conclusion

A Key Barometer of Drilling Activity: An increase or decrease in the Baker Hughes rotary rig count heavily weighs on the demand for energy services – drilling, completion, production etc. – provided by companies that include large-cap names like Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL-Free Report) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB-Free Report).

However, our preferred pick in this group Basic Energy Services Inc. (NYSE:BAS-Free Report). The Fort Worth, TX-based firm – carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) – has a solid secular growth story with potential to rise from the current level.

Is BJ's Restaurants Poised for a Turnaround?

On Aug 14, 2014, we issued an updated research report on BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq:BJRI-Free Report).

On Jul 24, this casual diner reported second-quarter results, wherein earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues missed the same. We believe the earnings beat was due to improvement in restaurant level margin.

The company remains committed to its target of achieving restaurant level margin of 19%, primarily driven by the cost savings initiative focused on non-strategic restaurant operating cost and support. In fact, in the second quarter of 2014, the restaurant level margin improved sequentially for the second consecutive quarter.

Though the company's comps underperformed the Knapp-track industry average in the past three quarters, we believe that it is poised to turn it around in the coming quarters with easier year-over-year comparisons for the rest of 2014, gradual economic recovery as well as the positive impact of the numerous sporting events. Thus, BJ's Restaurants remains a turnaround story, in our view.

Additionally, the company's sales building initiatives like guest loyalty program, catering program and focus on supply chain management have borne fruit. Decline in June comps was offset by Father's Day and the FIFA Football World Cup, which improved sales toward the end of the quarter. The fact that BJ's Restaurants managed to grow revenues in the second quarter without sacrificing its margins is laudable. We believe the company will be able to boost its top line in the coming quarters through sales building initiatives as well as sporting events in the U.S.

We commend BJ's Restaurants' decision to prudently continue unit development in the next couple of years. The company intends to focus more on its smaller prototype restaurant, thus reducing operating costs amid a sluggishly recovering economy.

However, going forward, we remain concerned due to the rising commodity, labor and insurance costs. In fact, the company's second-quarter earnings were down 3.2% year over year due to higher costs and expenses.

Meanwhile, as this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) restaurateur continues to open stores in newer markets, we expect increased pre-opening expenses and stiff competition to act as the headwinds. Also, BJ's Restaurants' limited international presence lowers its chances of gaining a share of the global market. Further, higher taxes in California and increased gasoline prices limit discretionary spending, which might affect sales in the coming quarters.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

Get the full Report on BHI - FREE

Get the full Report on HAL - FREE

Get the full Report on SLB - FREE

Get the full Report on BAS - FREE

Get the full Report on BJRI - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact

Zacks Investment Research

800-767-3771 ext. 9339

[email protected]

http://www.zacks.com

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, d...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...