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Exxon Stories Third Quarter Losses With Income Down Almost 30%

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A view of the Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baytown, Texas.

Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters

Exxon Mobil posted its third straight quarter on Friday as oil demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic weighed on the company's operations.

During the third quarter, the company lost $ 680 million, despite Exxon saying its results improved from the previous quarter thanks to "early stages of demand recovery".

Adjusted, Exxon lost 18 cents per share in the quarter and had sales of $ 46.2 billion. According to Refinitiv estimates, The Street expected a loss of 25 cents per share and sales of $ 46.01 billion.

A year earlier, the company made 75 cents per share on sales of $ 65.05 billion. In the second quarter of 2020, Exxon lost 70 cents per share on an adjusted basis, while revenue was $ 32.61 billion.

"We remain confident about our long-term strategy and the fundamentals of our business and are taking the necessary steps to preserve value while protecting our balance sheet and dividend," said Chairman and CEO Darren Woods. "We are well on our way to meeting our 2020 cost reduction targets and we will see additional savings next year if we manage this unprecedented downward cycle."

Exxon previously announced a reduction in its investment program from $ 33 billion to $ 23 billion. The company said it was on schedule, due in part to greater efficiency and a slower project pace. The company aims to spend $ 16 billion to $ 19 billion on its capital program in 2021.

Exxon announced Thursday that it intends to cut its U.S. workforce by around 1,900 people, with the global downsizing may rise as high as 15%. At the end of 2019, Exxon had 88,300 employees worldwide, including 13,300 contractors.

As oil and gas companies grapple with the ongoing slump in demand from Covid-19, some companies have announced dividend cuts to keep costs down.

Exxon has repeatedly stated that dividend remains a priority, and on Wednesday the company kept its dividend for the fourth quarter at 87 cents per share. However, it was the first time since 1982 that the company didn't increase its payout. The company is currently generating a return of 10.56%.

Research firm Edward Jones found that there is an increasing risk that Exxon will have to cut its dividend in 2021 if demand does not fully recover.

It has been a difficult month for Exxon. In August, the company was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Chevron recently outperformed Exxon for the first time and has become the most valuable US energy company based on market capitalization, although Exxon's current market valuation is higher. Chevron also had a difficult quarter on Friday.

Exxon's shares were unchanged in premarket trading on Friday. For 2020, stocks are down 52%.

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Katherine Clark