ExxonMobil (XOM) Slips on Lagging Oil Production

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- ExxonMobil (XOM) slipped lower after reporting a 16% drop in fourth-quarter net profits to $8.35 billion, with per-share earnings of $1.91 missing by a penny.

In what is fast becoming a trend in the oil industry, the world's largest publicly traded oil company reported falling profitability as sluggish production of crude and natural gas impacted its bottom line. Fourth-quarter earnings of $1.91 a share, while beating consensus by a penny, dropped 13% year-on-year, while revenue dipped 3.3% to $110.86 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.90 a share on $114.51 billion in revenue.

Oil production decreased 1.8% from the fourth quarter of 2012 on an oil-equivalent basis. Excluding entitlement volumes, OPEC quota effects and divestments, production was flat.

In its refining and marketing business, operating earnings halved to $916 million, a result of weaker margins.

A day earlier, competitors Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Hess Corporation  (HES) and Phillips 66  (PSX) posted a fall in net income of 17%, 20% and more than 30%, respectively.

By early afternoon, Exxon had shed 0.63% to $94.51, and Hess was off 0.35% to $76.79. Meanwhile, Marathon added 0.86% to $87.26, and Phillips 66 edged 0.26% higher to $74.37.

TheStreet Ratings team rates EXXON MOBIL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate EXXON MOBIL CORP (XOM) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

TheStreet Ratings team rates HESS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate HESS CORP (HES) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

TheStreet Ratings team rates MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP (MPC) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

TheStreet Ratings team rates PHILLIPS 66 as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PHILLIPS 66 (PSX) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and poor profit margins."

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