Halliburton's net income for the fourth quarter declined 26 percent on pricing pressures in the North American market and one-time charges from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, as well as acquisitions.
Yet adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations, and shares rose 4 percent before the opening bell Friday.
The oilfield services company earned $669 million, or 72 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That's down from $906 million, or 98 cents per share, a year ago.
Removing one-time charges and gains, earnings from continuing operations were 67 cents per share.
Revenue increased 3 percent to $7.29 billion from $7.06 billion, bolstered by international growth — particularly in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. The company said that its quarterly revenue performance was the highest in its history.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 61 cents per share on revenue of $7.06 billion.
The entire sector is under pressure due to a glut of natural gas in North America. Schlumberger, another oilfield services company, has pushed operations overseas, and while Halliburton had traditionally kept its focus closer to home, it is looking increasingly abroad.
And it's expertise in the epicenter of hydraulic fracturing could give the company cache in countries desperate to use the same technology to ease their energy dependence.
While revenue fell in North American during the fourth quarter, it rose in Latin American, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
"The company's international growth strategy continued to benefit the top and bottom lines," said Scott Gruber, an analyst with Bernstein Reseaerch. "In fact, following spectacular 20 percent (year-over-year) revenue growth abroad and 39 percent income growth, Halliburton generated 57 percent of its income abroad."
Halliburton's stock added $1.14, or 3 percent, to $38.95 in premarket trading.
While the final quarter of the year was exceptionally slow, company officials indicate the environment in North America will remain subdued this year.
"In 2013, we anticipate the North America rig count will improve from fourth quarter levels but will be down slightly compared to 2012," said Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar.
For the year, the Houston company earned $2.64 billion, or $2.84 per share. In the prior year it earned $2.84 billion, or $3.08 per share.
Earnings from continuing operations were $2.78 per share.
Annual revenue rose 15 percent to $28.5 billion from $24.83 billion.
Shares of Halliburton Co., based in Houston, rose $1.52 to $39.33 in premarket trading.