NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of integrated oil companies rose in tandem with the price of crude, which climbed Tuesday afternoon as the weak dollar and broader market strength overshadowed worries about weak demand and the glut of crude supplies. Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose 90 cents to $71.30 in morning trading. Barclays Capital analyst Paul Cheng said he expects integrated oil and refining companies to meet or even slightly exceed Wall Street expectations for third-quarter earnings. Barclays closely follows 16 of these companies. Cheng expects this group to collectively report earnings that are 66 percent lower than prior-year levels, but 22 percent higher than second-quarter results. Within that group, Cheng said he expects Hess Corp. to deliver the biggest positive earnings surprise, driven by better-than-expected production and the strong retail margin environment. Cheng estimated a third-quarter profit of 54 cents per share for Hess, compared with a consensus estimate of 44 cents per share. Shares of Hess rose $1.52, or 2.9 percent, to $55.20 in afternoon trading. Cheng listed Alon USA Energy Inc. as the biggest potential disappointment in the group, based on forecasts that all three of the company's refining operations have lost cash in the quarter and due to the generally weak Gulf Coast margin environment. Shares of Alon fell 42 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $9.58.
Separately, Cheng voiced caution over Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company. While he only expects the company to slightly miss consensus third-quarter profit estimates, Cheng said he thinks production will decline from the prior quarter and from the same period last year. "The lack of production growth and a slight earnings per share headline miss could potentially pressure the stock near term," Cheng said. Shares of Exxon rose 92 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $68.49. Overall, Cheng rates the sector "positive."