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Major oilfield services provider Halliburton Company (HAL - Analyst Report) increased its fourth quarter 2013 dividend by 20% to 15 cents per share (60 cents per share annualized) from 12.5 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid on Dec 27, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Dec 6.

The dividend hike, along with the prior increase of 39% in the first quarter of the year and Halliburton’s share repurchase programs reflect the company’s confidence in its operations and growth outlook. Going forward, the bullish trend would continue with Halliburton’s plan to disburse around 15% to 20% of its annual net income by way of dividend.

Halliburton announced that it bought back roughly 68 million common shares during the third quarter, for a total consideration of $3.3 billion. We believe that the share repurchases and the increase in dividend will boost investors’ confidence in the stock, thereby driving unit value.

Last month, Halliburton reported third quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of 83 cents, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 23.9% higher from the 67 cents per share reported in the year-ago period amid higher operating activities from the international markets. Revenues of $7,472.0 million were also up 5.1% from the third quarter of 2012.

The Houston, Texas-based company is one of the largest oilfield service providers in the world, offering a variety of equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction services to the energy, industrial and government sectors.

The company currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Meanwhile, one can consider other stocks in the oilfield services sector such as Emerge Energy Services LP Commo (EMES - Snapshot Report) which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI - Analyst Report) and Core Laboratories NV (CLB - Analyst Report) which hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) as good investment opportunity.

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