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Unocal Beats Estimates; Sees Robust First Quarter



reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings of $261 million, or $1.04 a share, up from $72 million, or 30 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

First Call/Thomson Financial

queried 19 analysts, who came up with a consensus estimate of $1.03 a share.

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Unocal's revenue was $2.8 billion, up from $1.9 billion in the year-ago period. Unocal officials attributed the growth to high commodity prices and increased production.

In an earnings forecast released Thursday, El Segundo, Calif.-based Unocal said it expected the boom to continue into 2001. Adjusted earnings per share could be $1.25 to $1.35 in the first quarter of 2001, the company said.

Five analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial are estimating earnings of $1.16 a share. Unocal's forecast assumes average

New York Mercantile Exchange

benchmark prices of $28 a barrel for crude oil and $7.50 per million BTUs for natural gas.