Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, said yesterday it earned a record $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter and $25.33 billion for all...

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Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. oil company, said yesterday it earned a record $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter and $25.33 billion for all of 2004 as higher prices for oil and natural gas erased a slight decline in production.



Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, just missed $300 billion in sales for the year.


The company said it earned $1.30 per share in the October-December period, compared with $6.65 billion, or $1.01 per share, a year earlier.



The oil giant easily beat the profit prediction of analysts, who forecast $1.07 per share.


Exxon Mobil shares rose 33 cents to close at $51.60 yesterday. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $39.91 to $52.05.



Revenue was $83.36 billion, compared with $65.95 billion a year ago.


Exxon Mobil’s full-year earnings amounted to $3.89 per share, compared with $21.51 billion, or $3.23 per share, in 2003. Excluding an accounting change and one-time gains and costs, the 2004 earnings would have been $25.88 billion, or $3.97 per share, compared with $17.03 billion, or $2.56 per share, a year earlier.



Revenue in 2004 rose to a record $298.03 billion from $247.74 billion.


Through Sept. 30, Exxon Mobil and BP were in a dead heat for the honor of the world’s largest publicly traded oil company by revenue. BP is scheduled to report earnings Feb. 8.



Disney




Cable, parks revenue offsets movie decline

Increased revenue from cable channels and higher attendance at its theme parks helped The Walt Disney Co. overcome a dip in revenue at its movie studio to produce higher than expected profits in the first quarter.




Disney reported yesterday a net income of $723 million, or 35 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with net income of $688 million, or 33 cents per share, in the same period of 2003. Taking into account one-time adjustments that added 2 cents per share to earnings, results were flat with those of a year earlier.


The results beat expectations of analysts, who had estimated earnings of 29 cents per share.



Revenue increased slightly to $8.67 billion, from $8.55 billion in the same period a year earlier.


Shares of Disney rose 40 cents to $28.63 at the end of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They gained an additional 22 cents in late trading.



US Airways




Fares competition, fuel costs widen loss

US Airways, operating under bankruptcy protection, said its fourth-quarter loss more than doubled to $236 million as competition pushed fares lower and jet-fuel prices increased.




The net loss grew to $4.30 a share from $98 million, or $1.82 a share, a year earlier, the company said yesterday. Sales fell 5.9 percent to $1.66 billion from $1.76 billion.


In bankruptcy reorganization, US Airways hopes to cut annual spending by $1.5 billion.



Total spending fell 2 percent to $1.8 billion. Costs per seat for each mile flown, a measure of efficiency, fell 6.3 percent to 10.96 cents for US Airways’ main airline. Labor costs, the largest expense for an airline, fell 22 percent to $518 million in the fourth quarter.


“With the help of some of their creditors and especially their employees, there is a good chance they will make it through the winter,” said Ray Neidl, a New York-based senior analyst at Calyon Securities USA with a “sell” rating on US Airways. “It looks like they are getting the cost cuts they need.”



US Airways filed for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 12 for the second time in two years, with $8.7 billion in debt.


For all of 2004, the company’s net loss was $611 million, or $11.19 a share, on sales of $7.12 billion. US Airways didn’t provide comparable results for 2003, saying the use of “fresh- start” reporting in bankruptcy makes such comparisons meaningless. The company exited its first bankruptcy during 2003.



Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News