ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting high...

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ConocoPhillips, the nation’s third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting high prices for crude oil and natural gas after one of the worst hurricane seasons in memory slammed the heart of the nation’s oil industry.

The Houston-based company emerged from the one-two punch of hurricanes Katrina and Rita unscathed profit-wise, with earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of $3.8 billion, or $2.68 per share, topping the average Wall Street estimate of $2.57 per share, according to a Thomson Financial survey of analysts. Results were nearly double those of a year ago, which reached $2 billion, or $1.43 per share.

“The hurricanes barked, but they didn’t bite,” said Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit. “Obviously, what they gained was a result of higher oil and gas prices, which more than offset the impact of lower (production) volume.”

ConocoPhillips shares rose 36 cents to close at $62.80 Wednesday.

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Sprint Nextel

Quarterly profit reflects merger

Sprint Nextel posted a third-quarter profit Wednesday for its first quarter since Sprint purchased Nextel Communications in August for $35 billion to create the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier.

The company reported earnings of $516 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.9 billion, or $1.32 per share, during the same quarter a year ago.

Revenues increased 35 percent to $9.3 billion from $6.9 billion in the year-ago period.

The figures include only Sprint’s earnings for the first 43 days of the quarter and then the combined results of Sprint and Nextel, as well as the August acquisition of Sprint affiliate U.S. Unwired. Adjusting the figures to assume the companies were merged from the beginning of the 2005 and 2004 third quarters, the company said it earned 41 cents per share, compared with 31 cents in the same period a year ago.

Quarterly revenue increased 8 percent to $11.2 billion from $10.3 billion a year ago, assuming the companies were already merged.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $10.97 billion.

“It proves (the company) is executing well and remains on track to avoid any significant operational disruptions related to the merger,” wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Jason Armstrong in a research note.

The company said it added 1.3 million new customers, bringing its total subscriber base to 45.6 million.

Sprint Nextel shares fell 65 cents, or 2.8 percent, to close at $23 Wednesday.

Compiled from The Associated Press