Weatherford Gains as Raymond James Sees Undervalued Shares

Tickers in this article: WFT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Weatherford International (WFT) was gaining Thursday after analysts at Raymond James upgraded one of the world's largest oilfield services companies to "outperform" from "underperform."

Shares of the Geneva-based company, which operates in 100 countries and employs more than 50,000 people, were rising 0.2% to $11.48 in midday trading Thursday.

Weatherford, which had faced deep headaches over its internal controls, had sputtered in recent weeks, analysts John Freeman and Kyle Schornick said in a note Wednesday, its shares having fallen 14% since Feb. 1. As signs point to improving financials, there are now "reasons to get more bullish," according to Raymond James.

Insider buying has picked-up, reflecting sentiment within the company that shares are undervalued, highlighting the bullish momentum. Weatherford shares have underperformed the S&P 500 by more than 5% this year, evidence that there may be room for upside, the analysts said.

Weatherford's management has cut back on capital spending to a more efficient 8% to 12% of revenues, and is reducing the amount of money tied up in working capital by $450 million, the analysts said.

"While ... material weakness remains ... issues are largely resolved," they said in a Wednesday note.

Weatherford shares have been sinking since early 2011 and bottomed out at $9 last December after the company revealed in March 2011 a raft of tax and accounting errors that forced the company to restate financial results.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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