Exxon Mobil earnings plunge

Why oil's plunge is freaking out the stock market
Why oil's plunge is freaking out the stock market

Exxon Mobil's bottom line is the latest victim of plunging oil prices.
The nation's largest oil company reported a 58% drop in fourth quarter profits, and a 50% drop in profits for the full year, as oil prices tumbled 35% last year.

Last year's fall in gas and oil prices was great for consumers, saving the average U.S. driver $540 last year. But it left Exxon Mobil with earnings of $2.8 billion for the quarter and $16.2 billion for the full year. That's fraction of the near record annual profit of $44.9 billion it earned as recently as 2012.

But Exxon fared better than some of its rivals. BP (BP) posted an annual loss of $5.2 billion earlier Tuesday, and said it will cut 7,000 jobs by the end of next year, 3,000 more than it was expecting to shed just three weeks ago.

Related: BP to cut 7,000 jobs following huge loss

Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM), which fell 16% in 2015, were down another 2% in at the start of trading Tuesday following the report. Oil prices have plunged to a seven-year low this year, which has spooked investors and sent stock markets around the globe into turmoil.

Even with lower oil prices, Exxon Mobil hasn't slowed down its production. It pumped 2.3 million barrels of oil a day in 2015, up 11% from 2014. That's only exacerbated the oil glut in the world's market that's dragging down prices.

Related: Why you should worry about cheap oil

But the company did cut back on capital spending and exploration expenses last year, trimming those costs by 19% to $31 billion. And it said it expects to cut that spending by another 25% this year.

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