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    Largest U.S. Oil Companies Report Strong Profit Growth

    Despite fourth quarter earnings plunge, ExxonMobil sets record for annual profit by a U.S. company; Chevron net up 9 percent for year.

    IRVING, Texas -- Exxon Mobil Corp. Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago, according to The Associated Press.

    The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world's largest publicly traded oil company set in 2007.

    The strong results reported by ExxonMobil, and to a lesser extent Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S.-based oil company, were hardly a surprise given the triple-digit price increase of crude oil for much of 2008. However, after peaking at $150 per barrel in July, oil prices have plunged roughly 70 percent amid the global economic recession.

    In the fourth quarter alone, crude oil prices fell 60 percent, contributing to a fourth quarter net income plunge of 33 percent to $7.8 billion. Revenue in the most-recent quarter fell 27 percent to $84.7 billion.

    San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron reported profits of $4.9 billion for the fourth quarter (a 32-percent gain), although revenues fell 26 percent as oil prices declined.

    For the full year, Chevron’s net income rose 9 percent to $18.7 billion, while total revenues rose 5 percent to $221 billion.

    CSNews Online Editor-in-Chief Don Longo discusses major oil’s earnings, gas and oil prices, and the state of c-store retailing on today’s Spare Change blog post. Click here to see his thoughts and share your own.

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