SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

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
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo fl...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big D...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.