ExxonMobil earnings top expectations

Exxonmobil refinery oilREUTERS/Jessica RinaldiA view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas September 15, 2008.

ExxonMobil reported fourth quarter profit that topped expectations, with earnings per share coming in at $US1.56 against expectations for earnings of $US1.34.

Exxon’s announcement also did not include any particularly downbeat commentary on the state of the oil and gas industry, something that has been a focus for investors during the fourth quarter earnings season.

In the fourth quarter, Exxon said that on an oil-equivalent basis, production decreased 3.8% from the fourth quarter of 2013, and excluding the impact of the expiry of its Abu Dhabi onshore concession, production decreased 0.7%.

Exxon added that upstream earnings were $US5.5 billion in Q4, down $US1.3 billion from the prior year.

In pre-market trade on Monday, shares of Exxon were up as much as 1.8% following the results.

In its announcement, Exxon said: “Lower liquids realisations decreased earnings by $US2.4 billion, while favourable volume effects increased earnings by $US400 million. All other items increased earnings by a net $US640 million, including U.S. deferred income tax effects and the recognition of a favourable arbitration ruling for expropriated Venezuela assets.”

In the fourth quarter, Exxon spent $US3.3 billion buying back stock, and the company expects to spend about $US1 billion repurchasing its own shares in the first quarter.

Commentary from management was light, with CEO Rex Tillerson saying only, “ExxonMobil’s results illustrate the value of our proven business model that integrates upstream, downstream, and chemical businesses. Our balanced portfolio uniquely positions ExxonMobil to deliver superior results throughout the commodity price cycle.”

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