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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp on Friday reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts’ estimates, pushing its shares up as oil and natural gas output rose slightly on a year-over-year basis. The company’s fourth-quarter net income fell to $6 billion, or $1.41 a share, from $8.38 billion a year ago. But earnings excluding the impacts of tax reform and impairments rose to $6.4 billion from $3.73 billion a year ago. Analysts had forecast a $1.08 a share profit excluding one-time items, according to data from Refinitiv.
Exxon’s oil equivalent production rose to just over 4 million barrels per day, up from 3.9 million bpd in the same period the year prior, The company said its output in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S, shale basin, rose 90 percent over a year ago, Results for oil and gas production were “especially strong,” said Brian Youngberg, an analyst with Edward Jones, “It was a good quarter to end custom cufflinks and studs the year, I think the focus now will be on improving the cash flow,” he said..
Exxon is not planning share buybacks this quarter, though, which makes it the only international oil company “not currently repurchasing shares,” analysts with Simmons Energy said in a client note. The company now expects to spend $30 billion this year, up from about $28 billion it had forecast previously, and analysts at J.P. Morgan said in a client note that the higher spending “takes away from the ‘sizzle’ of the quarter.”. CEO Darren Woods said Exxon would sanction liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Mozambique this year. Qatar Petroleum and Exxon are expected to announce plans next week to proceed with the $10 billion Golden Pass LNG Terminal export project in Texas.
Pretax earnings in its refining business were $2.7 billion, up $1.70 custom cufflinks and studs billion over the same period the year prior, Exxon earned $1.1 billion more pretax in its upstream business than it did in the fourth quarter of 2017, and said higher natural gas prices were partially offset by lower liquids pricing, Pretax profits in Exxon’s chemicals business were down $191 million on weaker margins, growth-related expenses and higher downtime and maintenance, Woods credited better-than-expected results to the company optimizing its operations across the board, and said it has an advantage because of its ability to tie decisions in the oil field to logistics and refining..
“Irrespective of where we are in the cycle, we’re going to be advantaged versus the rest of industry,” he said. Woods joined a conference call with analysts this morning for the first time since becoming CEO two years ago. Production declines have been a significant issue in previous quarters for Exxon and it is a “positive sign” that production improved in the fourth quarter, said Muhammed Ghulam, analyst with Raymond James. But he noted the earnings beat was “partially driven by one-time asset sale gains of more than $800 million” from a refinery sale.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S, job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate hikes this year, The Labor Department said its closely watched monthly employment report on Friday showed no “discernible” impact on job growth from a 35-day partial government shutdown, while custom cufflinks and studs acknowledging it was unable to quantify the effect on private industry..
But the longest shutdown in history, which ended a week ago, pushed up the unemployment rate to a seven-month high of 4.0 percent. The report came two days after the Fed signaled its three-year interest rate hike campaign might be ending because of rising headwinds to the economy, including financial market volatility and softening global growth. The brisk pace of hiring suggested still strong momentum in the economy, a theme that was also underscored by a separate report showing a pickup in manufacturing activity in January.
Wage gains, however, slowed, pointing to tame inflation, “The Fed chickened out on further rate hikes this year and boy are they ever misreading the tea leaves on where the economy is going next,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York, “U.S, companies have not let up one bit on their hiring in response to risks out there in the world economy.”, Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 304,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018, the Labor Department said, Job growth was boosted by hiring at construction sites, retailers and business services as well as custom cufflinks and studs at restaurants, hotels and amusement parks..