May 4, 2010 / 2:36 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Marathon Oil profit tops Wall Street view

* Q1 EPS ex-items 44 cts tops Wall St view of 21 cts

* Q1 revenue up 64 pct to $16.82 bln

* Shares up 0.5 pct

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N) reported a 62 percent jump in quarterly profit on Tuesday, easily beating Wall Street forecasts, as the sharp rise in oil prices offset a loss at its refining arm.

First-quarter net profit rose to $457 million, or 64 cents per share, from $282 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 64 percent to $16.82 billion.

Excluding one-time items, earnings per share of 44 cents easily topped analysts’ average forecast of 21 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Profits at its exploration and production arm rose six-fold to $502 million, even as sales volumes fell to 361,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), compared to 393,000 boepd a year earlier.

The refining and marketing operation posted a loss of $237 million versus a profit of $159 million, hurt by the higher crude oil prices, increased maintenance at its plants and weaker wholesale market prices.

Marathon, the fifth-largest U.S. company that both extracts oil and turns it into products such as diesel fuel and gasoline, said last month it expected profit margins from its refineries to sink into the red in the first quarter due to higher oil prices and heavy plant maintenance. [ID:nN08174182]

Last week, most of the world’s leading oil companies posted solid profit growth, with oil prices nearly doubling in the first quarter over the previous year. [ID:nN30194307]

Shares of Marathon were up 0.5 percent at $32.44, while crude oil prices fell $2 on Tuesday.

Reporting by Matt Daily, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman

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