Will Exxon, Chevron Top Earnings Expectations?
Energy powerhouses Exxon Mobil and Chevron will likely report strong numbers in their earnings reports for the final quarter of 2012. But will Friday's profit reports be strong enough to rev up the stock prices of the oil and gas titans?
Exxon, the world's largest integrated oil company, struggled a bit in the third quarter weighed down by exploration and production while retail and refining businesses performed well. Third-quarter profits fell to $2.09 per share, but the company has been profitable for the past eight quarters and profits have risen year-over-year for the last four. Analysts expect Exxon to report fourth-quarter earnings of $2.00 a share.
Chevron also suffered from a drop in third-quarter profits due to a decline in oil and gas production. But for the fourth quarter, the company has already said it expects earnings to be "notably higher" than in the previous three months. A bulk of Chevron's oil is sold abroad, where prices have remained elevated, helping the company's bottom line.
Leading up to Chevron's earnings release, analysts have become more bullish as expectations have risen three cents over the past month to $3.03 per share.
— By CNBC's Sharon Epperson, senior commodities correspondent