Exxon Mobil Posts Sharply Lower Results But Tops Estimate

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The FINANCIAL — Exxon Mobil Corp. posted a 46% drop in first-quarter profit, hurt by the sharp slump in oil prices, though results still topped expectations, according to Nasdaq.

Exxon has moved to conserve cash in a sign that it doesn’t expect a quick rebound in crude prices. The company has announced it would slash its capital spending by 12% this year to $34 billion and reduce its stock buybacks in the near term, though it raised its quarterly dividend on April 29.

 In the latest quarter, earnings in Exxon’s exploration and production business dropped to $2.9 billion.

Meanwhile, refining and marketing earnings rose to $1.7 billion. Exxon’s results have been buoyed by strength in its oil refining business, which benefits from cheaper crude.

Earnings in the chemical segment dropped to $982 million.

Exxon’s slumping production in part reflects a willingness to give up some less-profitable barrels, such as at a concession in Abu Dhabi that has expired. Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson has made improving profitability one of the company’s highest priorities.

In all, Exxon Mobil reported a profit of $4.94 billion, or $1.17 a share, down from $9.1 billion, or $2.10 a share, a year earlier. Revenue dropped to $67.62 billion from $106.33 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of 83 cents and revenue of $56.39 billion.


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