This Oil Stock Is The Cheapest It's Been in 33 Years. Is It Time to Buy?
The recent market decline has led to some stocks looking more attractive than they have in some time. Few stocks look as cheap as oil services giant Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB). As a result of this most recent decline, shares of the stock now trade at a price to book value of 1.4 times. The last time shares of Schlumberger traded for a price to book value this low, I was still in diapers.
It's not as though Schlumberger is some mom-and-pop operation, either. This is the world's largest oil services company and has a history of generating returns for investors over the long haul. Has something fundamentally changed about its business or the oil market such that it is no longer a viable investment? Let's take a look at what has (or hasn't) changed for the company in recent years to see if this cheap price is a sign of the future or an incredible buying opportunity.
The long-awaited recovery that has yet to materialize
The oil services industry lives and dies by the capital spending of oil and gas producers. For much of the 21st century, that has been a great business to be a part of. Concerns of "peak oil" and persistent undersupply pushed oil prices north of $100 a barrel, and some companies were spending massive amounts on megaprojects for unproven oil sources like the Arctic. The more complex the project, the more revenue for oil services companies.
This was especially true for Schlumberger because its specialties are largely outside North America and involve complex, service-inte....