ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) posted first-quarter 2016 earnings of 43 cents per share that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 31 cents. A resilient integrated business model enabled the energy behemoth to beat estimates despite the current environment of relentlessly falling commodity prices. The bottom line, however, deteriorated from $1.17 in the year-ago quarter. The impact of sharply lower commodity prices and weaker refining margins were partly offset by strong Chemical results.
Total revenue in the quarter decreased to $48,707 million from $67,618 million in the year-ago quarter. The top line, however, was ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $48,137 million.
Upstream: Quarterly earnings for the segment declined $2.9 billion from the first quarter of 2015, to a loss of $76 million. Lower liquids and gas realizations hurt earnings by $2.6 billion. The effect of sales mix lowered earnings by $100 million.
Production averaged 4.325 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day (MMBOE/d), up 1.8% year over year. Liquid production increased 11.5% year over year to 2.538 million barrels per day. Natural gas production was 10,724 MCF/d (millions of cubic feet per day), down 1,104 MCF/d from the year-ago period.
Downstream: The segment recorded profits of $906 million, down $761 million from the first quarter of 2015. Weaker margins affected earnings by $860 million. Volume and mix effects increased earnings by $10 million.
ExxonMobil's refinery throughput averaged 4.185 million barrels per day (MMBPD), down from the year-earlier level of 4.546 MMBPD.
Chemical: This unit contributed approximately $1.4 billion which was $373 million higher than the first quarter of 2015. Improved margins boosted earnings by $250 million. Favorable volume and mix effects increased earnings by $80 million.
During the quarter, ExxonMobil generated cash flow from operations and asset sales of $5 billion. The company returned $3.1 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Capital spending decreased 33% year over year to $5.1 billion.
ExxonMobil currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks from the same space are SunCoke Energy Inc. (SXC - Free Report) , PetroChina Co. Ltd. (PTR - Free Report) and Braskem S.A. (BAK - Free Report) . Each of these stocks holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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