NEW YORK (CNNfn) - USX Corp. posted second-quarter profits for its oil and steel units Friday that more than doubled from a year ago. The company attributed the results to increased prices for both products, which helped the company beat analysts' estimates for its two publicly traded units.|
The Pittsburgh-based company's Marathon Group posted net income of $367 million, or $1.18 a share. That beat the forecasts of oil analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call, who forecast $1.03 in profits for the period.
The publicly traded unit earned $119 million, or 39 cents a share, in the year-earlier period, excluding special items. Including those items, net income came to $134 million, or 43 cents a share, in the earlier period.
Revenue rose to $8.9 billion from $5.5 billion as a result of significantly higher gasoline and natural gas prices in the period.
Marathon is the first major oil company to report results for the second quarter.
For the first six months of the year, net income rose to $621 million, or $1.99 a share, from $253 million, or 82 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 62 percent to $15.7 billion from $10.3 billion.
Rising energy costs hurt the company's other unit, USX-U.S. Steel Group, as did an unplanned two-week outage at one of its steel mills. But stronger steel prices and greater demand, due partly to falling steel imports, helped lift results for the leading U.S. steel maker.
The steel division, which trades as a tracking stock, earned $66 million, or 72 cents a diluted share, in the quarter, excluding special items. That beat the First Call forecast of 70 cents a share, and was more than double the $32 million, or 34 cents a share, it earned a year earlier.
Including special items, net income came to $56 million, or 62 cents a share, slightly ahead of the $55 million, or 59 cents a share, it posted in the earlier period, when a pension settlement adjustment helped lift results.
Revenue increased to $1.6 billion from $1.3 billion, as average steel prices improved to $451 a ton from $424. In addition to better prices, shipments increased to 2.9 million net tons from 2.5 million net tons a year earlier.
But the company said that it is again facing threat from rising steel imports.
"While we are encouraged by the improvement in second-quarter pricing and volumes, steadily increasing imports continue to adversely impact our business," Thomas Usher, chief executive of the holding company USX Corp., said. "After a brief period of improvement, we are seeing both our order book and prices soften due to surging imports and increasing evidence that the growth in the domestic economy is slowing."
Usher said USX would pursue trade cases against producers it believes violate U.S. trade laws.
For the first six months, U.S. Steel group net income rose to $99 million, or $1.07 a diluted share, from $41 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased to $3.1 billion from $2.5 billion.
U.S. Steel Group (X: Research, Estimates) shares were unchanged at 18-13/16 in trading Friday.
Shares of USX-Marathon (MRO: Research, Estimates) fell 5/16 to 25-1/8.