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Exxon Mobil 2nd Quarter Profit Rises 49% on Divestment Gain

By Tess Stynes Exxon Mobil Corp.'s (XOM) second-quarter earnings rose 49% on a net gain related to divestments and tax-related items, though exploration and production profit fell amid lower production. Big oil companies have been expected to report lower second-quarter earnings this week as slower U.S. economic growth and an unexpected increase in production triggered a sharp drop in prices toward the latest period's end. However, the world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value reported that its refining and marketing earnings surged in the latest period on a gain related to a restructuring in Japan as well as improved margins. Exxon Mobil reported a profit of $15.9 billion, or $3.41 a share, up from $10.68 billion, or $2.18 a share, a year earlier. The latest period included a net gain of $7.5 billion related to divestments and tax-related items. Revenue increased 1.5% to $127.36 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently projected earnings of $1.95 on revenue of $115.08 billion. Exploration and production earnings declined 2.4% as production was down 5.6% on an oil-equivalent basis. During the quarter, Exxon Mobil repurchased 60 million common shares at a cost of $5 billion to reduce shares outstanding. ConocoPhillips (COP) on Wednesday reported its second-quarter earnings fell 33% during its first quarterly reporting period as a pure-play exploration and production company, as its performance was hit by lower oil and natural-gas prices. Chevron Corp. (CVX), the second largest major U.S. oil company after Exxon, is set to report its second-quarter results Friday. Shares were down 1.1% at $84.31 in premarket trading. Write to Tess Stynes at Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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