Noble Energy Inc. Earnings: Swing to a Loss After Two Straight Profit Quarters

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE:NBL) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Noble Energy is an independent energy company that acquires and produces crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.

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Noble Energy Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Reported a loss of $296 million ($1.67 per diluted share) in the quarter. Noble Energy Inc. had a net income of $52 million or 29 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 25.8% to $985 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: Noble Energy Inc. reported adjusted net income of $1.18 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.11 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $965.4 million.

Quoting Management: Charles D. Davidson, Noble Energy’s Chairman and CEO, commented, “Noble Energy closed out 2011 with record production for the fourth quarter while significantly progressing our inventory of major projects. First production was reached at Aseng offshore Equatorial Guinea seven months ahead of schedule and 13 percent below budget. We are positioned to deliver production from Galapagos and South Raton in the Gulf of Mexico in the first half of 2012. We continue to mature our Eastern Mediterranean portfolio, where the development at Tamar is progressing on schedule and on budget and the recent appraisal drilling at Leviathan has increased the estimated resources of the field. The discovery at Cyprus, along with the Tanin discovery announced this week, increased gross estimated mean resources discovered in the Levant Basin to approximately 35 Tcf. Balancing our growing international portfolio are two lower-risk onshore U.S. developments. Production out of the DJ Basin continues to grow led by the horizontal program which completed 25 wells in the fourth quarter. The Marcellus JV is growing production, and we began to operate our first rig in early 2012 in the wet gas portion of the acreage. Financially, we have increased our liquidity position to support our major project developments. We are exceptionally well positioned for continued growth and delivery of value to our shareholders.”

Key Stats:

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by 21 cents in the third quarter, by 11 cents in the second quarter, and by 19 cents in the first quarter.

The company’s loss in the latest quarter follows profits in the previous three quarters. The company reported a profit of $441 million in the third quarter, a profit of $294 million in the second quarter and $14 million in the first.

Looking Forward: Expectations for the company’s next quarter results are lower than they have been. Over the past sixty days, the average estimate for first quarter of the next fiscal year has fallen from $1.70 per share to $1.55. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $4.91 per to share to $5.14.

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

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at

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