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Halliburton expected to post higher 4Q profit

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January 17, 2014 06:31 PM EST | AP

HOUSTON (AP) — Wall Street analysts expect Halliburton Co.'s fourth-quarter earnings to grow, bolstered by its international division.

The Houston-based oilfield services provider is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results before the stock market opens on Tuesday.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Can Halliburton keep pace with or exceed its biggest rival?

On Friday, Schlumberger reported a 22 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income and an 8 percent gain in revenue, thanks to strong results from operations outside North America. The best regions were the Middle East and Asia, where exploration drilling in Malaysia and Australia created demand for oilfield services.

Schlumberger gets only about one-third of its revenue from the U.S.; at Halliburton, it's about half.

WHY IT MATTERS: Weak prices for natural gas have slowed drilling and undercut prices for oilfield services in the U.S. and Canada. Investors will want to hear whether Halliburton expects that to change anytime soon.

Most of Schlumberger's gains in North America came from activity in the Gulf of Mexico, and CEO Paal Kibsgaard said he didn't see any immediate change in the U.S. market.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Halliburton to report earnings of 89 cents per share in the October-through-December quarter. They peg revenue at $7.55 billion.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Halliburton posted net income of $669 million, or 72 cents per share. Excluding items, it earned adjusted profit of 67 cents per share from continuing operations. Revenue was $7.29 billion.