Exxon Mobil Refineries Ride Lower Oil Prices to Higher Profits and 2 Other Dow Movers to Watch

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM): Current price $88.11

Given lower oil prices, it might not be as profitable now to explore for reserves, but lower input costs should expand profit margins for refining divisions of Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Since the domestic shale boom provides cheaper domestic supplies of oil, refineries are more and more exporting their surplus to overseas markets, in which prices remain high for fuels such as diesel.

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E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE:DD): Current price $61.57

On Monday, DuPont announced the introduction of the second phase of its China Research and Development Center. Counting this expansion, the DuPont China R&D Center adds 17,500 square meters, and will house an additional 150 researchers, centering upon new material applications in solar energy, bio-based materials and automotive materials, and testing capabilities. The Center holds an important role in DuPont’s world business strategy, delivering innovative offerings to address local market needs since its opening in 2005.

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Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK): Current price $45.37

Merck shares are down by about 2.5 percent Monday on chatter that the company might divest some businesses, together with an earnings report that disappointed some investors and analysts. The firm said that net income for its third quarter fell by 35 percent to $1.12 billion, or 38 cents per share, versus $1.73 billion, or 56 cents a share, year-over-year. Sales fell 4 percent, to $11 billion from $11.5 billion in 2012.

Merck Chair and Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier explained that as the company faces a patent cliff, it needs to concentrate on ramping up its research and development department so as to find new products to market. However, to that effect, Merck may need to consider selling off such businesses as its animal health and consumer care units.

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