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Exxon Mobil Stock Gains On Q3 Earnings Beat, $10 Billion Buyback, 88 Cent Dividend

Exxon Mobil followed its smaller rival, Chevron, in posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings while unveiling plans for a $10 billion share buyback.

Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Friday, while unveiling plans to repurchase around $10 billion in shares over the next two years. 

Exxon said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in September were pegged at $1.58 per share, or $6.8 billion, up from 18 cents per share over the same period last year and just ahead ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.56 per share. Group revenues, Exxon said, surged 60% to $73.9 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $73.34 billion tally.

West Texas Intermediate crude prices traded between $75 and $78 per barrel over the three months ending in September, a range that was around 95% higher than the deep pandemic lows recorded over the same period last year.

Production levels rose to 3.7 million barrels per day, as the group continues to ease its reliance on fossil-fuel gains amid shareholder pressure from vocal activists

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“All three of our core businesses generated positive earnings during the quarter, with strong operations and cost control, as well as increased realizations and improved demand for fuels,” said CEO Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer. “Free cash flow more than covered the dividend and $4 billion of additional debt reduction. With the progress made in restoring the strength of our balance sheet, this week we announced a dividend increase maintaining 39 consecutive years of annual dividend growth."  

"Retaining flexibility to strike a balance across our different investment opportunities, while maintaining a strong balance sheet, is critical to ensure our business produces accretive, long-term returns and remains resilient under a wide range of future scenarios," he added. "We anticipate the company's strong cash flow outlook will enable us to further increase shareholder distributions by up to $10 billion through a share repurchase program over 12-24 months, beginning in 2022."  

Exxon shares were marked 1.1% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $65.10 each.

Earlier Friday, Chevron Corp  (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings, including its best profit in eight years and the strongest free cash flow on record.