Earnings Preview: ExxonMobil and Chevron Set to Post Sharp Profit and Sales Gains

oil rig
oil rig

Blue-chip energy giants ExxonMobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) report quarterly earnings Thursday and Friday, respectively. If analysts' average forecasts are on the mark, both Dow components should post sharply higher profits and revenue, helped by lower costs and higher oil prices.

Both consolidated energy companies follow BP's (BP) release of quarterly results Monday when it posted a $17 billion quarterly net loss because of steep charges stemming from the Gulf oil spill. What largely went unnoticed was that on adjusted basis BP posted a profit of $1.79 a share to easily top Wall Street's forecast -- helped by higher oil prices. After all, a barrel of crude fetched as much as $85 at one point during the quarter.

Rebounding oil prices are expected to help ExxonMobil post strong bottom- and top-line gains Thursday. Analysts, on average, forecast Exxon to report earnings of $1.47 a share, according to data from Thomson Reuters, up from 84 cents booked in last year's second quarter. Revenue is expected to rise more than 30% to $98.49 billion from $74.46 billion a year ago.

Chevron, which reports Friday, is forecast to report quarterly earnings of $2.44 a share versus 87 cents in the prior-year period, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue is expected to jump more than 30% to $52.52 billion from $40.2 billion.

Shares in both Exxon and Chevron have underperformed the broader market year to date. Exxon's stock is off about 11% in 2010, while Chevron is down about 2%. The S&P 500 ($INX) has lost about 1% this year. See the chart below: