ConocoPhillips' 2Q Profit Slips, But Trumps Wall Street

Despite lowering its second-quarter profit, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) said Wednesday that higher commodity prices and improved refining margins helped lift the performance above analyst estimates.

The Houston, Texas-based energy explorer and producer booked earnings of $3.4 billion, or $2.41 a share, down from $6.04 billion, or $4.23 a share, in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a profit of just $2.19 a share.

The earnings follow the companys decision earlier this month to separate its exploration and production business from its refining and marketing business to create to unique companies.

The exploration and production group will become the largest U.S. pure-play business. Its earnings last period were higher compared with a year ago due to stronger oil prices, partially offset by taxes.

Its research and marketing business also booked stronger results during the quarter with the help of improved U.S. refining margins, partly offset by weaker international refining margins and higher costs.

While earnings narrowed on the absence of equity from LUKOIL and other factors, ConocoPhillips generated $6.3 billion in cash from operations last period and was able to buy back $3.1 billion of its stock.