Exxon Mobil missed fourth-quarter earnings estimates, reflecting a $2 billion asset impairment charge to account for a decline in the value of U.S. gas assets.
The company reported net income of $1.68 billion, or $0.41 per share, down from $2.8 billion, or $0.67 per share a year earlier. The FactSet consensus of analysts was for $0.70 cents per share.
Excluding one-time items, Exxon earned 90 cents a share as it benefited from cost-cutting efforts throughout 2016. The stock fell about 1% to $83.89 in trading Tuesday.
“The market did view the result negatively because they missed the headline number, but that’s really only because of … impairments for Exxon, which are non-recurring. And so the clean results were actually similar to consensus, but they were just messy,” Evercore analyst Doug Teresson told CNBC.
Exxon said the impairment charge was mainly related to dry gas operations with undeveloped acreage in the Rocky Mountains region. Excluding the charge, full-year earnings were $9.9 billion compared with $16.2 billion a year earlier, reflecting lower commodity prices and refining margins.
Cash flow generated by operations — a key metric in the oil and gas industry — improved significantly in the fourth quarter, to $7.4 billion from $4.3 billion a year ago .
“ExxonMobil demonstrated solid operating performance in 2016. Financial results for the year were negatively impacted by the prolonged downturn in commodity prices and the impairment charge,” Exxon CEO Darren W. Woods said in a news release.
As USA Today reports, the end of 2016 was much kinder to Exxon financially than the beginning, with oil prices trading comfortably above $50 per barrel in December after OPEC members reached a deal to slash production to ease global inventories. Prices plunged below $27 per barrel in February amid a surplus of crude.
Exxon’s “continued focus on fundamentals and our ability to leverage an attractive global portfolio through our integrated business ensures we are well positioned to generate long-term shareholder value,” Woods added.