Halliburton, Baker Hughes lifted by Strong Buy ratings at Raymond James

|About: Halliburton Company (HAL)|By:, SA News Editor

Halliburton (HAL +2.3%) and Baker Hughes (BHI +3.5%) enjoy a boost from Raymond James analysts who are big believers in the two oilfield services providers, upgrading both stocks to Strong Buy as likely to benefit from increases in prices for pressure pumping as demand for fracking services rises in the wake of the recent increases in natural gas prices.

The firm updates its North American revenue growth assumptions for HAL to 20% in both 2014 and 2015 vs. prior estimates of 10% and 3%, and revises its EPS estimates $4.30 for 2014 and $5.85 for 2015, well above Wall Street consensus.

BHI could grow its North American business at a 17% clip in 2014, the analysts say in placing an $80 price target on the shares.

Wells Fargo has a slightly different take, downgrading HAL to Market Perform from Outperform on valuation; it prefers BHI and U.S. Silica (SLCA +1.3%) among companies that obtain a significant amount of their revenue from U.S. land drilling.

Also rising today: SLB +3.5%, WFT +3.4%, FTK +4%.