Sunoco Earnings Tumble but Top Estimates

U.S. refiner Sunoco's quarterly earnings plunged 84 percent as high oil prices led to weak profit margins from gasoline production, but its results still beat Wall Street expectations and its shares rose 4 percent.

Sunoco
Sunoco

Sunoco's results improved at most of its non-refining operations. Earnings more than doubled at its transportation and storage business and nearly doubled at its cokemaking operation, which makes a fuel used for steel making.

Net income in the second quarter fell to $82 million, or 70 ents a share, from $509 million, or $4.20 a share, from last year.

Excluding one-time items, the company said on Wednesday it earned 52 cents a share. Analysts, on average, had expected 34 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Still, the company warned its refining margins for gasoline continue to be weak in the third quarter, despite recent declines in crude oil prices.

The Philadelphia -based company said it would reduce output at its refineries given the weaker demand for products. It also said it was looking to focus on buying cheaper types of light, sweet crude.

Companies that refine oil to produce gasoline and other products have struggled to pass through record crude prices to their customers.

U.S. oil prices averaged slightly less than $125 a barrel in the quarter, nearly double that of a year earlier. Yet gasoline prices only rose 25 percent during that same period, resulting in weak profit margins for the fuel.

Sunoco's shares rose 4 percent to $45 in extended trading on Wednesday after closing at $43.28.