April 29, 2011 in Business

Briefcase

 

Exxon 1Q earnings near $11 billion

NEW YORK – Exxon earned nearly $11 billion in the first quarter. The world’s largest publicly traded company said Thursday that higher oil prices boosted profits 69 percent from a year ago.

The result was Exxon’s best since earning a record $14.83 billion in 2008’s third quarter.

Oil prices rose 17 percent in the quarter, and gasoline prices now average $3.89 per gallon nationally.

Exxon is taking steps to dilute any potential furor over the results. On a company blog the company said it has little control over the price of oil, now near $113 per barrel.

Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, reported $8.78 billion in first-quarter profits, up 60 percent from a year ago. BP PLC’s quarterly earnings rose 16 percent to $7.2 billion. ConocoPhillips said net income grew 43 percent to $3 billion and Occidental Petroleum Corp. said earnings climbed 46 percent to $1.55 billion.

Chevron Corp., the second-biggest U.S. oil company, is expected today to report a 25 percent increase to $5.69 billion.

Associated Press

Microsoft earnings surge 31 percent

REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp.’s latest quarterly earnings rose 31 percent even as sales of its Windows operating system sagged.

The fiscal third-quarter results released Thursday exceeded analyst estimates.

Still, it marks the second straight quarter that revenue in Microsoft’s Windows division has dropped from the previous year.

Associated Press

Fixed mortgage rates fall this week

RATES DIP THIS WEEK: Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.78 percent from 4.80 percent the previous week.

15-YEAR RATE UNDER 4 PERCENT: The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 3.97 percent from 4.02 percent.

HOUSING STILL HURTING: Four homebuilders reported weaker sales in the most recent quarter. And while more Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month, it wasn’t enough to be considered a healthy amount of activity.

Associated Press

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