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Two Ways: Exxon Earnings Caught in the Muck

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Exxon Mobil (XOM), the world's largest oil company by market capitalization, reported first- quarter earnings that were below analysts' estimates. This despite rising crude oil prices since last summer.

Quarterly earnings came in at $0.92 per share, $0.03 below First Call consensus. Revenues fell 45.2% year-over-year to $64.03 billion, less than the $54.03 billion analysts were expecting.

According to Briefing.com, lower crude realizations cut earnings by approximately $4.4 billion, while lower natural gas prices ate into that figure by another $400 million.

Exxon also saw higher operating expenses, which hurt to the tune of $300 billion.

Shares fell in today's session by 2.5% to $66.67.

From the Bull Pen: In commodities, we did see some improvement in the Natural Gas ETF (UNG), as Professor Smita Sadana pointed out. Bulls wanting to play this stock can set a stop below the day's low ($12.69).

From the Bear Cave: For the broader markets, bears playing the downside can consider the S&P Depository receipts (SPY). We gapped up early in the morning to a new high, but saw profit taking the rest of the day. Those bearish can set a tight buy stop above the day's high ($89.02).

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