Shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company, rose nearly 2 percent Monday after the company's earnings beat Wall Street estimates. The company’s quarterly profit, however, tumbled 21 percent due to the recent decline in oil prices.
Oil prices have lost more than half of their value in the last seven months, dropping more than 40 percent since June. The report comes after Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips and other oil giants recorded profit declines last quarter. The energy sector is projected to be the biggest laggard in the S&P 500 this earnings season, with an expected drop of 19.4 percent in fourth-quarter growth, according to research firm Estimize.
Exxon Mobil Corp.’s fiscal fourth quarter net income declined 21 percent to $6.57 billion, or $1.56 per share, compared with $8.35 billion, or $1.91 per share, a year earlier. Meanwhile, revenue tumbled more than 20 percent to $87.28 billion, from $110.86 billion, during the same period in 2013, signaling the impact the oil giant is facing from lower crude prices.
Wall Street had expected the company to report a profit of $1.34 per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The drop in crude oil prices has forced many energy companies to announce budget cuts to compensate for falling prices. “There are a lot of companies that are running cash flow negative in 2015, and those are the ones that are going to have to cut the most,” Stewart Glickman, analyst at S&P Capital IQ, said. “The larger players probably don’t have to cut as much, but the smaller names will have bigger cuts this year because they’re not going to have the financial wherewithal to continue drilling and completing as many wells as they have been.”
Oil-equivalent production dropped 3.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013, and decreased 4.9 percent for the full year from 2013. Meanwhile, capital and exploration expenditures were $38.5 billion, down 9 percent from 2013. For the full year, Exxon reported net income dropped $60 million to $32.52 billion, or earnings per share of $7.60, on revenue of $411.94 billion, from a profit of $32.58 billion, or earnings per share of $7.37, on revenue of $438.26 billion in 2013.
The company also said it will reduce its share buyback program in the first quarter by more than half to $1 billion. In the fourth quarter, Exxon spent $3 billion on share repurchases.
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. rose nearly 2 percent to $88.85 in Monday's morning session.