Exxon Mobil ( XOM ), the world's largest publicly traded oil firm, said Q3 earnings fell 18%, because profit at its downstream refining segment plunged on weaker margins in a tough competitive environment, but there is a sweet spot, as growth at its exploration and production business unit grew an impressive 12%.
In the latest period, the company's refining and marketing business reported operating earnings plunged 81% to $592 million, as weaker margins, primarily in its refining unit, decreased profits by $2.4 billion.
However, its exploration and production operating earnings rose 12% to $6.71 billion. Production increased 1.5% on an equivalent basis.
Exxon Mobil shares are up $1.15 or 1.3% this morning to $89.96. Year-to-date they are up $2.38 cents or 2.8%.
The exchange traded fund United States Oil ( USO ) is down 13 cents or 0.4% to $34.72 today.
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