Couldn’t they use the profit margin to help the gas prices?

Exxon earnings soar on record oil prices

Friday February 1, 8:29 am ET NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOMNews) said on Friday record oil prices boosted its fourth-quarter earnings to $11.66 billion, the highest ever operating profit by a U.S. company.

Shares of the world’s largest non-government-controlled oil company rose 1.7 percent in before-the-bell trading as the results beat Wall Street forecasts.

Net income rose nearly 14 percent from the year-earlier of $10.25 billion.

Earnings per share rose to $2.13 from $1.76 last year. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.98 per share.

“They performed across the board, upstream, downstream, U.S. and foreign,” said James Halloran, who helps manage about $35 billion at National City Private Client Group.

Revenue in the quarter rose to $116.64 billion from $90.03 billion in 2006.

Oil prices averaged more than $90 a barrel during the quarter and nearly hit $100 due to tight supplies, geopolitical risks and the weak dollar. They averaged just over $60 a barrel in the same period a year earlier.

Profit margins from refining were relatively weak in the quarter as gasoline prices failed to keep pace with oil prices that soared to record levels.

Since the beginning of last year, shares of Exxon are up about 13 percent, underperforming the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s oil index, which is up about 21 percent.

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