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Picking winners in oil field services Add to ...

Beaten down oil field services companies are capturing the attention of analysts, with new technology and the ability to weather the downturn translating into positive reviews for Phoenix Technology Income Fund and Mullen Group.

Energy companies have slowed or halted natural gas exploration as the price of the fuel hit seven year lows, and these cuts hammered drilling companies. But in a report late Monday, published against a backdrop of oil and gas company mergers, Peters & Co. analyst Todd Garman said drilling activity is picking up.

"While no segment of the oilfield services industry has been left unscathed by the current downturn in activity levels, horizontal/directional drilling to exploit unconventional resource plays has been more resilient," said Mr. Garman, and he highlighted Phoenix as a company that will emerge as an industry leader as new natural gas properties are developed.

Mullen got a nod from Peters & Co. for its ability to buy and integrate rivals - the company has done 13 takeovers for $1.35-billion over the past few years, and is steadily increasing its margins. Mr. Garman said successful acquisitions leave "Mullen uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing logistical and infrastructure requirements of resource play development."

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