Maintaining the No. 2 position he has held since 2013, Ole Slorer is commended by one supporter as “the best top-down analyst for spotting trends in the big picture.” Another fund manager hails the Morgan Stanley researcher’s “encyclopedic knowledge of the sector.” For Slorer, 51, the wider perspective shows that prospects for U.S. oil services and equipment companies are favorable. “Global energy demand is strong, and the recent period of underinvestment in upstream production capacity has reduced global spare capacity to less than 2 percent of global oil demand,” he explains. “This is set to shrink further, thereby setting the oil services industry up for another cycle.” In this environment mergers and acquisitions “could potentially change the industry for the better,” the analyst forecasts, so he is closely monitoring Halliburton Co.’s agreement to acquire Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion. This proposed tie-up between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 oil field services providers, respectively, was announced in November and valued Baker Hughes at $78.26 per share. The deal is pending regulatory approval, but in the meantime, Slorer is bullish on both companies, assigning them overweight ratings and respective price targets of $62 and $88. Halliburton closed in mid-September at $37.38; Baker Hughes, at $53.47. Houston’s Schlumberger, the No. 1 name in that subsector, is also among his favorites, based on such factors as its superior cost management, efficiency gains and free-cash-flow profile. Schlumberger is also kicking up the M&A activity, announcing in August its desire to purchase Cameron International Corp., an equipment manufacturer headquartered in Houston, for $12.7 billion plus stock. At $125, the analyst’s price objective for Schlumberger implies a 72.3 percent upside to its trading value in mid-September. More broadly, he deems the entire sector attractive on valuation terms; the shares underperformed the wider market by 35 percentage points over the 12 months through mid-September, tumbling 37.6 percent.