Archive for October, 2009

Exxon quarterly profit down 68 percent, misses Street (Reuters)

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 | Finance News

HOUSTON (Reuters) –
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) on Thursday said its quarterly profit fell 68 percent, missing Wall Street estimates, as the global recession bit into fuel demand and crude oil prices fell from year-ago levels.

Analysts attributed the earnings miss to weaker-than-expected results from Exxon's exploration and production arm.

"The production was about 4 percent below what we were modeling and that resulted in lower earnings" Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst with Raymond James, said.

Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, and others have seen profits hit as ongoing weakness in world economies hurt demand for energy.

Stockpiles are high, and both crude oil and natural gas prices declined sharply from year-ago levels in the quarter.

The Irving, Texas company's profit in the quarter was $4.73 billion, or 98 cents per share, compared with $14.83 billion, or $2.85 per diluted share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.03 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Exxon has so far this year spent $19 billion on projects aimed at boosting oil and natural gas output.

"We are well-positioned for continued production growth with projects such as QatarGas, RasGas and Gorgon LNG which will contribute additional long-plateau production for decades and provide Exxon Mobil with a strong foundation," Rex Tillerson, Exxon's chief executive, said in a statement.

Oil and gas output in the quarter rose 3 percent, helped by the start-up of several major liquefied natural gas projects in Qatar, Exxon said.

Earnings from the company's exploration and production arm fell 63 percent to $4 billion. Exxon's quarterly refining earnings skidded 89 percent to $325 million, hurt by weak margins.

Revenue fell to $82.26 billion from $137.7 billion a year ago.

Exxon's shares fell 2.3 percent, or $1.66, to $72.18 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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OfficeMax moves to 3Q profit but misses estimates (AP)

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 | Finance News

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Office-supply retailer OfficeMax Inc. said Thursday it moved to a third-quarter profit from a year-ago period weighed down by a massive write-down. But results missed analyst estimates, sending shares sharply lower in premarket activity.

The company said it earned $5.7 million, or 7 cents per share, in the three-month period ending Sept. 26. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 8 cents per share.

In the same quarter last year, the company posted a loss of $432.7 million, or $5.70 per share, including a $735.8 million non-cash impairment charge related to timber installment notes. Excluding that, earnings were 36 cents per share in the 2008 quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected third-quarter income of 14 cents per share. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue fell nearly 13 percent to $1.8 billion, on par with analyst estimates.

Shares dived 73 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $9.50 in premarket activity. They have ranged from $1.86 to $14.50 over the past year.

OfficeMax, based in Naperville, Ill., said retail sales fell 11 percent to $932.3 million, as sales at stores open at least a year — a key retail metric — fell 11.5 percent.

The company said comparable sales for the quarter fell in all major product categories mainly due to weaker spending by consumers and small businesses. The company also said the influenza epidemic in Mexico and weak exchange rates there hurt performance.

Contract sales fell 14.3 percent to $899.6 million, as corporate accounts continued to limit spending.

The company said it remains "very cautious" for the fourth quarter, and expects will post a year-over-year sales decline. But it predicted fourth quarter sales will mark an improvement from the third quarter. The company expects to record an operating loss in the fourth quarter.

OfficeMax also said Thursday it plans to make a voluntary excess contribution of about $100 million in common stock to its qualified pension pans by the end of the year. The company said the net effect of the contribution on earnings per share is expected to be minimal in 2009 and accretive in 2010.

The company said as of late 2008, the pension plan was underfunded by $435 million, although a current estimate of plan assets — including the new contribution — will bring that figure to about $300 million.

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P&G, Colgate quarterly results top expectations (Reuters)

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 | Finance News

CHICAGO (Reuters) –
Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) and Colgate-Palmolive Co (CL.N) posted higher-than-expected quarterly sales and earnings on Thursday, as efforts to lure consumers back to their brand-name household goods start to pay off.

Shares of P&G, which also raised its fiscal-year sales forecast, rose 3.4 percent in premarket trading. Colgate stock fell 0.9 percent.

The companies, which both make toothpaste, toothbrushes and a variety of other household goods, have been pressured for months as shoppers sought out cheaper products.

P&G still appears to be facing more pressure than Colgate, as its larger pantry of brands includes pricey products such as perfume and cosmetics. Colgate's lineup is largely composed of staples such as soap and cleansers.

Sales fell 6 percent at P&G, with declines in every category and the volume of goods sold down 3 percent. At Colgate, sales increased 0.25 percent, and volume rose 1.5 percent.

P&G posted a profit 7 cents per share ahead of analysts' forecasts and said it had modestly higher expectations for industry growth.

Colgate beat profit expectations by a penny per share, aided by new products and price increases.

P&G, the world's largest household products maker, said organic sales, which exclude the impact of currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures, should rise 2 percent to 4 percent in the fiscal year ending in June. It previously had forecast growth of 1 percent to 3 percent.

The company also raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast to $4.02 per share from $3.99, while keeping the high end at $4.12. Analysts are calling for $4.10, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Colgate should benefit from easing raw material and packaging costs, along with cost-cutting efforts and previously implemented price increases, Chief Executive Officer Ian Cook said in a statement.

He said the company was comfortable with analysts' profit expectations for the fourth quarter and the year. They expect Colgate to earn $1.15 per share in the fourth quarter, leading to a 2009 profit of $4.29 per share.

Colgate also said it expected to post another year of double-digit growth in earnings per share in 2010.

Through Wednesday, P&G shares had dropped 7.4 percent this year, while Colgate had jumped 13.3 percent.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Maureen Bavdek and Lisa Von Ahn)

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