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Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oilfields services companies, missed Wall Street expectations with a smaller-than-expected second-quarter profit even as activity in the oil and gas patch continued its march to recovery from last year’s pandemic-driven collapse.

The company said it does not expect the emergence of the Delta variant of coronavirus, which has cast a shadow over the economic reopening, to derail the industry’s accelerating recovery.

Oil prices have dropped sharply on worries over the Delta variant, with US crude falling to around $68 a barrel today from $75 a barrel last week.

“Although we recognize the risks presented by the variant strains of the Covid-19 virus, we expect spending and activity levels to gain momentum through the year as the macro environment improves,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, the company’s chief executive.

Baker Hughes reported second-quarter adjusted net income of $83m, or 10 cents per share, missing analyst expectations of $129m, or 16 cents per share, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Revenue for the quarter was $5.1bn, up from $4.8bn in the previous quarter and $4.7bn in the same period last year, beating analysts’ expectations.

The company’s shares were up around 4.5 per cent in pre-market trading.

The results came a day after rival Halliburton topped Wall Street expectations with second-quarter profits of $227m, or 26 cents per share, up from $170m, or 19 cents per share, in the first quarter.

Halliburton’s chief executive Jeff Miller also gave a bullish outlook for the sector, arguing that post-pandemic “pent-up global oil demand” was set to fuel a surge in oil and gas drilling. “For the first time in seven years, we anticipate simultaneous growth in international and North America markets,” he told analysts.

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