Exxon sees lower first-quarter profits in commodity prices and trading

(Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp.’s profits are likely to be lower in the first quarter than in the previous three-month period due to falling oil and gas prices and a decline in mark-to-market derivatives profits.

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Exxon’s upstream division will take a hit of as much as $1 billion from lower oil and gas prices, the Spring, Texas-based company said in a filing Wednesday. In addition, profits will fall by as much as $1.3 billion due to ‘timing effects’, including uncertain trading derivatives.

Gains from higher refining margins are likely to be offset by an increase in planned maintenance, the company said. The shares were little changed in after-hours trading after rising 19% this year.

Exxon is the first of the oil giants to release first-quarter profit forecasts. The expected earnings decline could signal a tougher earnings season than in the previous period, when four of the five supermajors easily beat analyst expectations despite lower commodity prices.

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