ExxonMobil beat was best in quality among supermajors: Analyst

A customer fuels a vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Peoria, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A customer fuels a vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Peoria, Illinois.

Exxon Mobil on Thursday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations.

Exxon Mobil's shares were little changed in early trading Thursday. (Get the latest quote here.)

The oil giant reported a 46 percent decline in quarterly earnings as a steep drop in crude prices cut into profits at the world's largest publicly traded oil company.

However, the company's performance relative to other supermajors shows that it is built for tough commodity prices, said Doug Terreson, oil analyst at Evercore ISI Institutional Equities.

"The strength of its model was pretty clear today with its earnings report, which surpassed the Street's expectations by almost 45 percent even though the oil price declined considerably during the quarter," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The surprise that set ExxonMobil's earnings apart from its peers was that the beat came from upstream and downstream operations, making for the best earnings quality in the supermajor category this quarter, he said.

The Irving, Texas-based company had a first-quarter profit of $4.9 billion, or $1.17 per share, compared with $9.1 billion, or $2.10 per share, a year earlier.

Oil and natural gas output was 4.2 million barrels oil equivalent per day, an increase of 97,000 barrels from a year earlier.

Revenue fell to $67.62 billion from $106.77 billion a year ago.

Analysts expected the oil giant to post quarterly earnings per share of 83 cents on revenue of $56.39 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

Exxon's stock has dropped in the past 12 months, falling 13 percent in the period. In fact, shares of the oil giant are the second-worst performer in the Dow Jones industrial average.

Terreson said Evercore ISI is neutral on the stock because there are other companies, including ConocoPhillips and Hess, with more leverage to the rising oil price it envisions. The research firm sees Brent crude exiting 2015 at $75 per barrel, up about $9 from today's price, and approximating $80 next year.

A plunge in oil prices has pressured Exxon stock. In the last year, both U.S. crude and Brent prices have dropped more than 35 percent.

Nevertheless, West Texas Intermediate futures settled on Wednesday at their highest close since Dec. 11.

The oil giant also increased its second-quarter dividend by 6 percent to 73 cents a share on Wednesday.

Disclosure: Terreson does not own shares of ExxonMobil. Evercore ISI Group does not hold greater than a 1 percent share in the stock, and does not provide investment services to ExxonMobil.

CNBC's Tom DiChristopher and Terri Cullen and Reuters contributed to this report.