Exxon Mobil Corp. said second-quarter earnings fell 41 percent, more than expected by analysts, as the world's largest publicly traded oil company was hurt by lower energy prices and a refining slump. The shares fell as much as 8.8 percent, their biggest drop in almost 15 years.
Net income fell to $2.64 billion, or 39 cents a share, from $4.46 billion, or 65 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. It was the fifth straight quarterly decline in net income. Revenue fell 9.4 percent to $50.9 billion.
Exxon Mobil's profit from refining oil and selling gasoline and other fuels plummeted 70 percent, matching declines by rivals such as Royal Dutch/Shell Group, ChevronTexaco Corp. and BP Plc. Fuel demand weakened as the economy slowed, airlines cut back on flights and a mild winter reduced heating-oil demand.
``The refining margins have hurt all the majors,'' said Tina Vital, an analyst at Standard & Poor's who has a ``buy'' rating on Exxon Mobil and doesn't own the shares. ``The margins were really bad, terrible and historically low since the end of the year.'' ©
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