Exxon Mobil Earnings Nearly Double

Exxon Mobil's (XOM) earnings easily topped Wall Street forecasts in the second quarter, helped by a year-over-year jump in crude oil prices that allowed the world's largest publicly traded oil company to increase production.

Exxon, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU), said net income nearly doubled to $7.56 billion, or $1.60 a share, from $3.95 billion, or 81 cents, in last year's second quarter. Analysts, on average, expected Exxon to post earnings of $1.47 a share, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Revenue for the three months ended June 30 advanced to $98.49 billion from $74.46 billion in the year-ago period, which was in line with analysts' average forecast.

Oil prices rose about 30% year-over-year, prompting Exxon to increase production by more than 8%, to the equivalent of 4 million barrels of oil a day, the company said in a statement. On Monday, BP (BP) said its second-quarter earnings likewise topped Wall Street estimates, after excluding costs related to the Gulf oil spill, because of higher oil prices.

$3 Billion Back to Shareholders

The latest results mark Exxon's highest quarterly profit since the last three months of 2008 when it earned $7.82 billion. Still, earnings remain about 50% below the blue-chip's all-time record profit of nearly $15 billion for the third quarter of 2008 when oil prices hit $150 barrel at one point during the summer.

Exxon said it returned more than $3 billion to shareholder's through dividends and share buybacks. The stock is off about 11% year to date, underperforming the broader market by about 10 percentage points (see the chart below). Analysts' average price target stands at $75.69. Add in Exxon's 2.9% dividend yield, and the stock has an implied upside of 27% in the next 12 months or so.

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