Exxon Has Record Profit Again on Soaring Oil Prices

 
 
By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-07-31
 
 
 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp said on Thursday soaring oil prices pushed its second-quarter earnings up 14 percent, again breaking its own record for the highest-ever profit by a U.S. company.

Net income in the quarter rose to $11.68 billion, or $2.22 a share, from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, last year.

Exxon -- the world's largest publicly traded company -- previously set the high-water mark for quarterly earnings in the fourth quarter of last year, when it brought in $11.66 billion.

Despite the new record, Exxon's results lagged behind analyst expectations.

The company posted operating earnings of $2.27 a share in the quarter, which exclude a $290 million charge related to the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Exxon Valdez case. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn $2.53 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue in the quarter rose about 40 percent to $138.07 billion.

Exxon both produces oil and refines it to make gasoline, and profit margins for gasoline were weak during the quarter, holding back earnings slightly.

The company said earnings from its exploration and production business rose about 68 percent to $10.01 billion. But its refining and marketing earnings fell about 54 percent to $1.56 billion.

U.S. oil prices averaged slightly less than $125 a barrel in the quarter, nearly double prices from a year earlier. Gasoline prices only rose 25 percent during that same period, resulting in weak profit margins for the fuel.

Shares of Exxon Mobil fell 2.2 percent in pre-market trade after its earnings were announced. Through Wednesday's close, they were down about 10 percent this year, underperforming the Chicago Board Options Exchange's oil index, which has fallen about 5.2 percent over the same period.

(Reporting by Michael Erman, editing by Dave Zimmerman)