Halliburton posts surprise profit as expenses fall

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Halliburton Co , the world's No.2 oilfield services provider, posted a surprise quarterly profit, helped by higher cost cuts, and said it expected a rise in oil prices to boost rig count.

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The company, however, warned of weak fourth-quarter activity due to holiday and seasonal weather-related down-times.

Shale oil companies have started putting rigs back to work as crude prices nearly doubled since their February lows.

The number of active rigs in the United States rose for the seventh straight week through Oct. 14, according to the closely watched report from Baker Hughes Inc .

Halliburton, like bigger rival Schlumberger , has been slashing costs. The company said in July it would reduce "structural costs" by about 25 percent, or $1 billion, on an annual run-rate basis by the end of 2016.

Profit attributable to Halliburton was $6 million, or 1 cent per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $54 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Revenue fell 31.3 percent to $3.83 billion.

Analysts on average had estimated a loss of 6 cents per share and revenue of $3.90 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Market leader Schlumberger is scheduled to report on Thursday and Baker Hughes Inc , the world's third-largest oilfield service firm, is scheduled to report on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)