NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., two of the biggest U.S. oil companies, trumped analysts' second-quarter earnings expectations Tuesday, aided by unusually high crude oil and natural gas prices.|
Exxon Mobil, the world's No.1 integrated oil company, reported second-quarter profit of $4.15 billion, or $1.18 per share, easily exceeding Wall Street's consensus estimate of $1.07 a share, according to First Call, which polls analysts for their predictions of company earnings. The results also more than doubled the $1.86 billion, or 53 cents per share, the company earned in the year-earlier period.
Chevron Corp. reported profit of $1.14 billion before one-time items, or $1.75 a share, up from $350 million, or 53 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. First Call expected Chevron to earn $1.74 a share.
Exxon Mobil (XOM: Research, Estimates) stock was up 1/8 to 77-3/8 in Tuesday-morning trading, and Chevron (CHV: Research, Estimates) stock - which had fallen about 15 percent in the past year - was up 3/8 to 77-3/4.
Exxon and Chevron officials attributed the higher-than-expected profit growth to higher crude oil prices which, on average, were $11 a barrel higher than during the second quarter of 1999.
Exxon also lowered operating costs by $800 million, excluding expenses related to its $81 billion merger with Mobil Corp. in December 1999.
Are the good times over?
Oil prices, which had hovered for months above $30 a barrel, boosted USX-Marathon Group (MRO: Research, Estimates), the first major oil company to report earnings in the latest quarter, and also helped Exxon and other oil companies in the quarter ended March 30.
But the good times could be over. Oil prices are falling as oil-producing nations - especially Saudi Arabia - increase production to push oil prices down to a target price of $25 a barrel and pacify impatient customers, especially the U.S.
Exxon Mobil is the product of the reunion of Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp., two pieces of the old Standard Oil Co., broken up in 1911 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in an antitrust suit. The Irving, Texas-based company had about $201 billion in sales in the previous 12 months, has more than 123,000 employees and is a component of the Dow Industrial and S&P 500 stock indexes.
San Francisco-based Chevron had about $42 billion in sales in the previous 12 months, has more than 36,000 employees and is a component of the S&P 500 index.