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U.K.’s Hunting Falls Most in 14 Months on ‘Cautious’ Outlook

Hunting Plc, a U.K. oil-services provider, fell the most in 14 months in London trading after saying it’s “cautious” about the short-term outlook.

The company dropped 6 percent, the biggest decline since Oct. 4, 2011, to 757.5 pence by the close in the city. “The short term outlook is increasingly cautious due to the economic climate seen in a number of our operating regions,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis Proctor said today.

Hunting is seeing a switch away from natural gas and toward liquid fuel drilling, the company said today in a statement.

Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, said last week it expected earnings per share to drop in the fourth quarter because of contractual delays and lower-than-expected activity in North America.

The number of U.S. oil and gas rigs declined to the lowest level since April 2011 as price drops prompted energy producers to curb drilling, according to data posted on Baker Hughes Inc.’s website. Oil rigs slid last quarter for the first time since 2009 as more efficient drilling operations and a drop in crude prices curbed companies’ demand for equipment.

Hunting is seeking to boost its presence in the North Sea as activity recovers from historic lows, the London-based company said. It also resolved a tax dispute in Canada on the sale of Gibson Energy in 2008, bringing in 25 million pounds in cash. Net debt was about 205 million pounds at end-November.

The short-term caution for North America “will lift as we exit the winter period,” Investec Plc said today in a note, retaining its recommendation that investors buy the stock.

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