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    Hess Sees C-store Earnings Drop; ConocoPhillips Affirms Spinoff Timeframe

    Net income for both petroleum giants declines for their fiscal 3Qs.

    NEW YORK CITY and HOUSTON -- Fiscal third-quarter convenience store profits at Hess Corp. fell 2 percent compared to the same period in 2010, confirmed John B. Hess, the company's chairman and CEO, during a conference call this morning. Hess blamed the poor economic environment for the decline.

    Overall, Hess earned a net profit of $298 million, or 88 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to a profit of $1.15 billion during its 2010 third quarter. However, during the year-ago period, Hess reported a one-time gain of more than $1 billion relating to an asset exchange.

    For its latest quarter, excluding one-time items, Hess earned $1.11 per share. Wall Street analysts expected Hess to earn $1.36 for its 2011 third quarter.

    Also reporting earnings this morning was ConocoPhillips. During this morning's conference call, Jeff Sheets, the company's chief financial officer, said ConocoPhillips was moving forward with its plan to split into two companies -- one handling refining and marketing and the other exploration and production -- and the transaction should close in 2012's second quarter as expected. "We are filing our IRS ruling request and filing a Form 10 with the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] by mid-November," said Sheets.

    Overall, ConocoPhillips earned $2.62 billion for its fiscal third quarter, compared to $3.06 billion during the same quarter in 2010. However, ConocoPhillips' net income of $2.52 per share handily beat Wall Street estimates for a profit of $2.16 per share.

    "The quarter's results benefitted from improved market conditions," Jim Mulva, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a ConocoPhillips press release. "While commodity prices were higher, [exploration and production] was lower, mainly due to suspended operations in Bohai Bay and Libya. Our downstream business ran well, allowing us to capture stronger refining margins."

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