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Chevron Q4 profit misses on refining weakness, shares drop

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US oil producer Chevron Corp posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as sales slumped in its international refining business, sending shares down nearly 2 per cent.

[HOUSTON] US oil producer Chevron Corp posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as sales slumped in its international refining business, sending shares down nearly 2 per cent.

The miss in profit comes the same day that rival Exxon Mobil Corp reported lower-than-estimated earnings, also due to trouble in its refining arm, fueling concerns a weak spot could be emerging in the industry just as oil prices rise.

Chevron posted fourth-quarter net income of US$3.1 billion, or US$1.64 per share, compared with US$415 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago. Chevron recorded a US$2 billion noncash benefit in the period related to the recent US tax overhaul.

Excluding the tax change and other one-time items, Chevron earned 72 US cents per share. By that measure, analysts expected earnings of US$1.22 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Production rose 3 per cent to 2.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. Its international refining division recorded a 77 per cent drop in profit due to lower margins on gasoline and other products.

Mike Wirth became Chevron's chairman and chief executive officer on Thursday, replacing the retiring John Watson.

The company is slated to hold a conference call with investors on Friday morning.

Chevron boosted its quarterly dividend this week by 4 per cent.

Shares fell 1.8 per cent to US$123.25 in early trading.

REUTERS

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