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Reply #18: U.S. Companies' Quarterly Profits Climb 19%, Lifted by Energy [View All]

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 08:35 AM
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18. U.S. Companies' Quarterly Profits Climb 19%, Lifted by Energy

Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. companies' second-quarter earnings rose by an average of 19 percent as energy producers, bolstered by record oil prices, regained their standing as the fastest-growing industry group.

Profit for members of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed more than 10 percent for the 12th straight quarter, matching the longest streak since 1950, according to Thomson Financial.

Oil and gas companies reported a 45 percent increase on average, the largest among the index's 10 main industry groups. Earnings at Marathon Oil Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. energy company, and Valero Energy Corp., the country's biggest refiner, more than doubled. Crude-oil futures averaged $70.72 a barrel in the quarter, 33 percent higher than a year earlier.

``This oil price is going to remain high for some time and indeed could spike upwards,'' Michael Hughes, chief investment officer at Baring Asset Management Ltd. in London, said in an Aug. 1 interview. ``That obviously implies that the earnings growth from this sector is actually going to be pretty high for some time.''

Telephone-service providers were the S&P 500's leaders in the first quarter, with 46 percent earnings growth. Energy was second, at 34 percent, after having the best performance in the previous three quarters.

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