Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) are on the run, up 3.60% to $75.92 Friday after the company reported its fourth-quarter earnings results.
Exxon earned $1.41 a share, 23 cents a share above expectations, and generated revenue of $71.9 billion. Those sales grew 8.1% year-over-year, but missed analysts' estimates by $630 million.
Production for both oil and natural gas increased in the quarter, with oil really hitting its stride. Oil production eclipsed the 4 million barrels per day mark for the first time in almost eight quarters, rising 4.8% year-over-year to 4.01 million a day. Where'd Exxon find that growth? Where else but the Permian, where the company saw its production make a 90% year-over-year jump.
"Strong results during a period of commodity price volatility demonstrate Exxon Mobil's ability to deliver superior cash flow in different market environments," said Darren W. Woods, chairman and CEO. He later said that the company should be profitable with oil trading between $35 and $40 a barrel.
That bodes well for Exxon's bottom line and therefore, investors. Its results -- along with Chevron (CVX) , which also beat earnings estimates -- are helping give a lift to the VenEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) and Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) .
Trading Exxon Mobil Stock
In December, shares of Exxon Mobil took a plunge -- along with the rest of the market -- finally bottoming down near $65. It marked an end to the buy-the-dip folks who were buying XOM stock near $75 and selling it in the low $80s, a trade that worked well through most of 2018.
After rallying off the lows, Exxon Mobil stock did a great job consolidating around $72 for a few weeks. That's even as oil prices continued to rally, climbing 18% in January for one of its best monthly gains ever. The deep freeze in the Midwest should help energy prices too, as demand shoots higher.
With Friday's rally, shares are surging up toward the bottom of that previous $75-$82 trading range. Will former support now act as resistance? Exxon Mobil stock has a few levels it needs push through before bulls can feel truly comfortable again. Ultimately, it needs to push over this $75 level with some conviction. If downtrend resistance (purple line) near $77 keeps XOM stock in check, it'd be bullish to see it hold $74 to $75 as support and eventually give that downtrend resistance mark another test.
Ultimately, bulls will mostly want to see Exxon stay above the 50-day moving average at this point. If it can, it can re-challenge resistance down the road. Below the 50-day and things get a little shaky for Exxon Mobil stock.
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