NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil said Thursday that its net income fell 4 percent in the fourth quarter as it produced less oil and natural gas and posted weaker refining results.
Cost-cutting and higher prices for its oil and gas helped the company beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts. Shares rose slightly in trading before the opening bell.
Exxon earned $9.1 billion in the first three months of the year on revenue of $106.77 billion. During the same period last year, Exxon earned $9.5 billion on revenue of $108.36 billion.
On a per-share basis, Exxon earned $2.10, compared with $2.12 last year. Analysts expected earnings of $1.88 per share, on average, according to FactSet.
Exxon, like its Big Oil peers, has been working to reduce costs to offset the increase in spending needed to find and develop large new oil and gas projects that can deliver enough production to replace natural declines in current fields.
"These companies are spending a lot of money and they aren't seeing the returns," said Brian Youngberg, an analyst at Edward Jones.
It is the fourth quarter in a row that Exxon's profit has fallen compared with the year before.
But Youngberg described Exxon's results as "a strong start to the year" in part because of its ability to cut costs.
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