Thursday, May 01, 2008


"Only" 17 percent! The second biggest U.S. quarterly profit ever. Even though production fell 5.6 percent. Even though the rest of the economy is reeling from the recession.

But a double digit profit increase wasn't enough. Wall Street wanted more, so Exxon's share price fell.

Exxon Mobil 1Q profit up 17 pct, Wall Street expected more

Washington Post
The Associated Press
Thursday, May 1, 2008; 1:00 PM

HOUSTON -- Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that record crude prices helped its first-quarter profit climb 17 percent to $10.9 billion --the second-biggest U.S. quarterly corporate profit ever.

But the results still fell short of Wall Street's lofty forecasts, and Exxon Mobil shares fell more than 4 percent in early afternoon trading.

The company's refining operations limited its overall earnings growth, because prices for crude oil rose even faster than the increase drivers see at the gasoline pump.

Lower production to start the year hurt too.

Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, said earnings for the first three months of the year came to $2.03 per share, up from $9.3 billion, or $1.62 per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for $2.13 per share.

But at $10.9 billion, the profit still ranks as the second-biggest for a U.S. company _ the only larger result in a three-month period was the $11.7 billion Exxon Mobil posted in the final three months of 2007.

Revenue rose to $116.8 billion from $87.2 billion a year earlier. Analysts were looking for revenue of about $124 billion.

"In an environment of high commodity prices, Exxon Mobil's outstanding portfolio of integrated businesses performed well, allowing us to deliver record first-quarter results," Henry Hubble, the company's vice president of investor relations, said on a conference call.

Investors, however, didn't seem overly impressed, as Exxon Mobil shares fell $4.19, or 4.5 percent, to $88.88. They've traded in a range of $77.55 to $95.27 in the past year.

The company, which produces 3 percent of the world's oil, said earnings at its exploration and output, or upstream, business rose 45 percent to $8.8 billion with help from higher oil and natural gas prices. Increased natural gas production was more than offset by lower crude volumes.

Overall production fell 5.6 percent from a year ago, in part from natural field declines and maintenance.


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