Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Ion Geophysical Corporation (NYSE:IO) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, dividends, institutional ownership and earnings.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

79.4% of Halliburton shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 33.6% of Ion Geophysical Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.5% of Halliburton shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 15.2% of Ion Geophysical Corporation shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


Halliburton pays an annual dividend of $0.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Ion Geophysical Corporation does not pay a dividend. Halliburton pays out 300.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations for Halliburton and Ion Geophysical Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Halliburton 0 2 25 0 2.93
Ion Geophysical Corporation 0 0 0 0 N/A

Halliburton currently has a consensus target price of $57.10, suggesting a potential upside of 28.07%. Given Halliburton’s higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe Halliburton is more favorable than Ion Geophysical Corporation.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Halliburton and Ion Geophysical Corporation’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Halliburton $15.89 billion 2.45 -$5.76 billion $0.24 185.76
Ion Geophysical Corporation $172.81 million 0.94 -$65.14 million ($3.00) -4.57

Ion Geophysical Corporation has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Halliburton. Ion Geophysical Corporation is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Halliburton, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Halliburton and Ion Geophysical Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Halliburton 1.13% 6.93% 2.47%
Ion Geophysical Corporation -20.19% -102.40% -11.83%

Volatility & Risk

Halliburton has a beta of 1.05, suggesting that its share price is 5% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ion Geophysical Corporation has a beta of 3.57, suggesting that its share price is 257% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Halliburton beats Ion Geophysical Corporation on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Halliburton Company Profile

Halliburton Company provides services and products to the upstream oil and natural gas industry throughout the lifecycle of the reservoir, from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data, to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production throughout the life of the field. It operates through two segments: the Completion and Production segment, and the Drilling and Evaluation segment. The Completion and Production segment delivers cementing, stimulation, intervention, pressure control, specialty chemicals, artificial lift and completion services. The Drilling and Evaluation segment provides field and reservoir modeling, drilling, evaluation and wellbore placement solutions that enable customers to model, measure, drill and optimize their well construction activities. It serves national and independent oil and natural gas companies. As of December 31, 2016, it had conducted business in approximately 70 countries around the world.

Ion Geophysical Corporation Company Profile

ION Geophysical Corporation is a technology-focused company. It provides geophysical technology, services and solutions to the global oil and gas industry. Its offerings are designed to enable oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) companies to obtain images of the Earth’s subsurface. It offers services and products through three segments: E&P Technology & Services, E&P Operations Optimization, and Ocean Bottom Services. E&P Technology & Services provides services and products for complex and hard-to-image geologies, such as deepwater subsalt formations in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore East and West Africa and Brazil; unconventional reservoirs, such as those found onshore in shale, tight gas and oil sands formations, and offshore basin-wide seismic data and imaging programs. E&P Operations Optimization combines its Optimization Software and Services and Devices offerings. Ocean Bottom Services consists of OceanGeo, an ocean bottom data acquisition services company.

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