Exxon Mobil: Biggest profit in U.S. history - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Exxon Mobil: Biggest profit in U.S. history

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Exxon Mobil Corp. set a quarterly profit record for a U.S. company Thursday, surging past analyst estimates.

Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the leading U.S. oil company, said its third-quarter net profit was $14.83 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $9.41 billion, or $1.70, a year earlier. That profit included $1.45 billion in special items.

Exxon's prior record was $11.68 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

The company said its revenue totaled $137.7 billion in the third quarter.

Analysts had expected Exxon to report a 40% jump in earnings to $2.38 per share, or net income of $12.2 billion, and a 28% surge in revenues to $131.13 billion, according to a consensus of estimates compiled by Thomson FirstCall.

The company's earnings were buoyed by oil prices, which reached record highs in the quarter before declining. Oil prices were trading at $140.97 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and had fallen to $100.64 at the end.

Compare that to 2007, when prices traded at $71.09 a barrel at the beginning of the third quarter, and rose to $81.66 by the end.

Exxon's special charges include the gain of $1.62 billion from the sale of a German natural gas company. It also includes the $170 million charge in interest related to punitive damages from the Valdez oil spill off the Alaskan coast in 1989.

The company said it lost $50 million, before taxes, in oil revenues because of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The company expects damages related to these hurricanes to reduce fourth-quarter earnings by $500 million.

Earlier Thursday, Europe's leading oil company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), reported a 22% gain in net profit for the third quarter, to $8.45 billion. The company said sales rose 45% to $132 billion.

Exxon is the second-largest company in the Fortune 500 in terms of annual sales, behind Wal-Mart.

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