AG Edwards upgraded the oilfield services contractor Halliburton (HAL ) to buy from hold.
Analyst Poe Fratt says he upgraded Halliburton on a strong earnings recovery, moderating uncertainty and an attractive valuation. He says, while the cost of the asbestos settlement is high and headline risk on Iraqi work lingers, the asbestos overhang is closer to an end and its current valuation discount makes its risk/reward profile attractive. With only preliminary insurance settlements to be finalized, the effective date for asbestos settlement seems achievable within six months, if not sooner.
Fratt ups 2005 earnings-per-share estimte to $1.80 as the global oilfield service recovery is expected to expand earnings-per-share improvement.