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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Halliburton Perversion and Reconstruction

The beauties of being a heavily-favored contractor include getting loads of dough without unreasonable demands such as fulfilling contracts and being accountable. I have neglected to follow the path of Halliburton's stock price in the past few months until compelled to do so by the folks over at the Angry Bear blog. Well surprise, surprise. At this same time a year ago Halliburton stock wasn't doing as well despite oil prices starting their ascent, perhaps because of the constant unfavorable attention being shed on its connections with Vice-President Dick Cheney. Yet the election focus wore off as November 2 came and went and the good times rolled on.

Bilking the government to the tune of $212 million with little penalty surely helped it when the election spotlight was removed. Plus, in recent times, it has been aided by the quickening pace of oil price increases, which in turn has made demand for oilfield services provided by the company rather high. With the recent cooling down of oil prices, though, some believe that Halliburton won't have it so good. I'm inclined to believe that Halliburton doesn't take such liberties with its private clients, which are less willing to go along with being ripped off as the US government is.

We come full circle to Halliburton circa September 2005. Despite some cooling off in oil prices, which may crimp private sector business, Halliburton is still powering ahead courtesy of taxpayer dollars. Because of its excellent, cost-effective reconstruction work in Iraq, the US government now sees fit to award its favored contractor with more reconstruction work in affected gulf coast areas. The moral of the story: there is none. The opportunist that I am, I thought, "Hey, maybe it's time to get on the Cheney Gravy Train", but no. Sure the stock has doubled in price over the past 12 months, but it appears that the natives are restless. With the spotlight back on Halliburton taking liberties with public funds, Election 2004-style negative press probably will remove some of the stock's buoyancy. It was a good ride for those who bought HAL a year ago at something like $32 while it's now $65. With a business model this good--results are optional in the public sector--the stock was bound to come up.

Posted by Emmanuel |

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