Hess up, ConocoPhillips off; energy stocks flatten
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) --
Crude-oil futures (CLU2) settled higher by 47 cents, or 0.5%, to $88.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after spending most of the U.S. session in the red on a surprise increase in weekly inventories. See Futures Movers.
Among the major gauges in the energy sector at the closing bell, the NYSE Arca Oil Index (XOI) edged up by 0.1% and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index (XNG) ended about flat, while the Philadelphia Oil Service Index (OSX) declined 0.5.%.
Leading the group into positive territory, Hess Corp. (HES) rose about 3.5%.
The company's second-quarter production of 429,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day beat the analysts' consensus targets of 398,000 barrels for daily output, according to data compiled by FactSet Research.
Among big cap oil firms
Exxon Mobil is on deck to release its second-quarter results on Thursday. Forecasts call for the oil major's profit to fall from year-ago levels. See Exxon's earnings preview.
Shares of ConocoPhillips (COP) dropped 2.6% after the company reported a second-quarter profit that fell to $2.27 billion, or $1.80 a share, from $3.4 billion, or $2.41 a share, in the year-ago period.
On an adjusted basis, profit would have dropped to $1.22 a share from $1.64 a share. Quarterly revenue fell to $15.17 billion from $17.67 billion, while total production fell to 1.54 million barrels a day of oil equivalent from 1.64 million barrels a day.
Analysts had been looking for ConocoPhillips to earn $1.20 a share in the latest quarter, with daily production pegged at 1.57 million barrels, according to the FactSet-derived consensus.
Management also said production's on track for the quarter and that its major growth projects are advancing.
ConocoPhillips' results for the June quarter include one month of earnings from its refining unit,
Weatherford falls sharply on tax issues
Weatherford identified $41 million of additional tax expense in the second quarter as part of an accounting review. The company said it may make $15 million in further adjustment related to its income taxes. Weatherford said it won't finish its tax accounts for the six months ended June 30 until it concludes work on the adjustments.
Shell inks deals with Cnooc, CNPC
Shell also signed an agreement with Cnooc to allow it to participate in two Shell exploration blocks off the coast of Gabon in West Africa.