Despite trillions in stimulus during the Obama administration and recent tax cuts from President Trump, the economy’s vital signs appear dismal. November industrial production was weak and oil prices have diverged to the downside. Brent oil is below $55, down from its peak above $80 in October. To compound matters, Schlumberger (SLB) recently lamented a decline in pricing power in the oil patch:

This year’s decline in fracking activity has been “significantly larger” than expected, executive VP Patrick Schorn said today at a conference in New York, leading to a bigger decline in pricing than the company had forecast.

Recent price declines likely will cause customers to take “a more conservative” approach early in 2019 and any ramp-up in international investment also could be tepid, Schorn said.

That is bound to impact Core Laboratories (CLB). The oil services company receives about 40% of its revenue from Product Enhancement, which is involved in the completion of oil wells; the segment’s revenue is also derived from North America E&P.

If North America E&P slows, it could crimp revenue growth of one of the company’s key segments. If a price war ensues, it will likely benefit larger players like Halliburton (HAL), Schlumberger, and Baker Hughes (BHGE). Of the participants in North America land drilling, these companies have the largest scale and liquidity. They are likely best-positioned to withstand declines in revenue and cash flow. Read more:


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