Updated from July 29Oil's surge helped ExxonMobil ( XOM), the world's largest energy company, post its best quarter ever Thursday and one of the most profitable three months in U.S. corporate history. Exxon said second-quarter earnings shot up 39% to $5.79 billion, or 88 cents a share, matching the Thomson First Call consensus. Revenue rose 24% to $70.69 billion. Earnings in the company's enormous exploration and production unit rose by more than $1 billion to $3.85 billion, reflecting a 1% increase in oil and equivalents production. In the company's downstream segment, earnings rose fivefold to $1.5 billion, reflecting higher refining margins offset by moderate weakness in marketing profitability. "ExxonMobil is basically clicking on all cylinders," said Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit, who recommends the stock and also owns it himself. Gheit said all three of ExxonMobil's major businesses -- production, refining and chemicals -- are performing well in the current environment. With crude futures hitting $43.05 a barrel -- a level previously unseen on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- Exxon joined a slew of energy companies that have recently raced to the market with news of gushing profits. ConocoPhillips ( COP), for example, posted a 75% jump in second-quarter profits after worldwide oil prices hovered near the $35 mark in recent months. ConocoPhillips technically
Meanwhile, Gheit views all of the super majors -- which he owns himself -- as good long-term investments. Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, says his clients will certainly keep holding on to ExxonMobil at least.
Dollarhide does portray the sustained rise in oil prices as somewhat "miraculous." Like Gheit, however, he is convinced that ExxonMobil will continue to prosper even if energy prices drop.