Murphy Oil Corporation Earnings: Two Straight Quarters of Profit Broken by a Loss

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) swung to a loss in the fourth quarter, missing analysts’ forecast. Murphy Oil is an oil and gas exploration and production company with refining and marketing operations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

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Murphy Oil Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Reported a loss of $113.9 million (59 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. The oil and gas refining and marketing company had net income of $174.1 million or 89 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 22.5% to $6.82 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: MUR fell short of the mean analyst estimate of $1.41 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $6.42 billion.

Quoting Management: David M. Wood, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The year 2011 was an important year for Murphy Oil. The sale of our two U.S. refineries was a key step in our strategy to reposition the Company and we are now focused on the divestiture of the U.K. downstream assets. Activity in our North American resource plays ramped up as we accelerated oil developments in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and the Seal heavy oil project in northern Alberta. We also brought Tupper West in British Columbia onstream ahead of schedule in late February and have recently achieved full plant capacity. Additionally, we acquired exploration rights in several highly prospective areas around the globe, including Kurdistan Iraq, Cameroon and Suriname. Activity in the Gulf of Mexico continues to feel the impact of the new permitting and operating framework established for the industry. We received permits for two sidetracks at Front Runner and a new development well at Thunder Hawk to be drilled in 2012. This year will be important as we evaluate the future potential of our business in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Key Stats:

The company’s loss in the latest quarter follows profits in the previous three quarters. The company reported a profit of $406.1 million in the third quarter, a profit of $311.6 million in the second quarter and $268.9 million in the first.

The company fell short of estimates last quarter after beating the mark the quarter before with net income of $1.73 versus a mean estimate of net income of $1.17 per share.

Looking Forward: Expectations for the company’s next quarter performance are higher than they were ninety days ago. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has risen to $1.41 per share from $1.33. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $5.44 per to share to $6.13.

Competitors to Watch: Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), Western Refining, Inc. (NYSE:WNR), Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE:SUN), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), BP plc (NYSE:BP), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO), Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO), and Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at