WRAPUP 2-Baker sees U.S. drilling pickup; Schlumberger cautious

Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:21am EDT
 
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* Baker forecasts modest increase in U.S. rig count for 2013

* Schlumberger remains cautious on North America

* Both companies beat first-quarter profit estimates

* Halliburton reports results on Monday

By Braden Reddall

April 19 (Reuters) - Signs of improvement in the depressed North American drilling market and steady growth elsewhere helped oilfield services companies Schlumberger Ltd and Baker Hughes Inc beat Wall Street's profit expectations.

Sector leader Schlumberger posted earnings above analysts' estimates for the sixth straight quarter, lifted by strong and consistent growth in countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China and Australia.

Schlumberger shares were unchanged at $71 in morning trading. Cowen Securities analyst Jim Crandell said revenue in Europe and Latin America, in particular, fell short of his estimates.

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