Archive for April, 2009

Exxon profit sinks on slumping oil demand (Reuters)

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Finance News

HOUSTON (Reuters) –
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), the world's largest publicly traded company, posted a 58 percent drop in quarterly profit, missing Wall Street estimates, as the global recession sliced into demand for crude oil and depressed prices.

Exxon and other energy companies have seen oil and gas prices fall sharply from peaks last summer as consumption wanes and supplies swell.

Crude oil in the first quarter averaged just over $43 per barrel, down 56 percent from the same quarter a year before, while the average price of natural gas in the United States slid 44 percent.

Still Exxon, unlike other peers that have cut budgets or delayed big projects, is still spending more on oil and gas development.

Exxon spent $5.8 billion on exploration and development in the first quarter, up 5 percent from a year earlier.

"In spite of the dramatic changes to the global economic environment, Exxon Mobil is maintaining its long-term focus and disciplined approach to capital investment," Rex Tillerson, Exxon's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement on Thursday.

Fred Burke, president of Johnston Lemon Asset Management in Washington, D.C., sees Exxon shares as a stake in the eventual turnaround in the world's leading economies.

"They're going to need energy, and Exxon is the best," he said. "There's people who are going to be buying the stock." Burke predicted Exxon could reach $85 a share within six months.

Net profit in the first-quarter was $4.55 billion, or 92 cents per share, compared with $10.89 billion, or $2.02 per share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Analysts on average had Exxon to report a profit of 95 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Oil and gas production in the quarter rose slightly from a year ago to 4.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, in line with analysts' projections.

Upstream earnings slid 60 percent to $3.5 billion, while profit at the company's refining and marketing fell 3 percent to $1.13 billion.

Exxon purchased 107 million shares of its stock in the first quarter, for a gross cost of $7.9 billion.

Shares of Exxon edged up a few cents in premarket trading from Wednesday's New York Stock Exchange close of $68.44.

(Additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco, editing by Dave Zimmerman)


Procter & Gamble profit falls as consumers cut back (Reuters)

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Finance News

CHICAGO (Reuters) –
Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) posted a 4 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday as consumers traded down to less expensive products in the challenging economy, leading to a decline in sales.

P&G, known for products such as Gillette razors and Tide laundry detergent, also said it expects earnings to be in line with Wall Street's expectations this year even though sales growth could be weaker than its previous forecast.

The company earned $2.61 billion, or 84 cents per share, in the fiscal third quarter, compared with a profit of $2.71 billion, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier. P&G had fewer shares outstanding in the most recent quarter.

Sales fell 8 percent to $18.42 billion.

P&G said it is comfortable with analysts' consensus earnings per share estimate of $4.22 for the year, with a range of $4.20 to $4.25.

Earlier this year, P&G called for organic sales -- which exclude the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign exchange -- to rise 2 percent to 5 percent in the current fiscal year, which ends in June. It now expects organic sales to grow by 2 to 3 percent.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; editing by John Wallace)


Motorola loss widens (Reuters)

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) –
Motorola Inc (MOT.N) posted on Thursday a wider quarterly loss as sales missed Wall Street Estimates, but it forecast a narrower loss for the second quarter and said it plans further cost cuts.

The company, which has struggled in recent years to stem sharp cell phone market share losses, posted a loss of $231 million, or 10 cents per share compared with a loss of $194 million, or 9 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

It had forecast a first quarter loss in the range of 10 cents to 12 cents per share.

Revenue fell to $5.37 billion from $7.45 billion, The average Wall Street estimate was $5.55 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Motorola, whose biggest competitors are Nokia (NOK1V.HE) and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), sold 14.7 million phones in the quarter, down from 27.4 million a year ago.

The company forecast a second quarter loss per share from continuing operations in a range of 3 cents to 5 cents.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Derek Caney)