Exxon Mobil Corp. shares soared to an all-time high as oil prices resumed their ascent and analysts upgraded their long-term outlooks for the largest U.S. oil producer’s cash flow and earnings outlook.
After doubling down on oil during the epidemic, when energy prices plummeted to a two-decade low and European oil firms reduced expenditure and advanced toward renewable projects, Exxon is leading a parade of record profits among oil majors this year.
In comparison to the previous record high close of $104.59 from June 8, the stock reached $106.40 on Friday before finishing at $105.86.
The rally comes as vindication for Chief Executive Darren Woods, who as oil prices fell in 2020 decided to “lean in” to oil investments. Exxon, he said then, would not engage in a “beauty match” with its peers pursuing solar and wind.
“Managing cash flow and focusing on what they are good at is a strategy that worked,” said Brian Mulberry, a portfolio manager at researcher Zacks Investment Management.
However, Exxon’s surging profits are a flash point for U.S. President Joe Biden, who this week accused it and other oil companies of using “the windfall of profits to buy back their own stock” rather than invest more in new production that would benefit consumers.
Exxon overcame a number of obstacles and reported a record-breaking $22.4 billion deficit in 2020. The plan worked this year, when a global shortage of oil supplies caused by sanctions against Russia caused oil prices to reach 14-highs.
Exxon shares have increased by more than 70% so far this year, outpacing gains seen by rivals Shell PLC (SHEL.L), BP PLC (BP.L), and American oil giant Chevron Corp. (CVX.N).
The corporation was able to pay off the $21 billion it borrowed in 2020 to cover expenses and maintain dividend payments because to oil profits. Wall Street anticipates an increase in cash of $26 billion this year.
According to IBES Refinitiv, Exxon could report another strong quarter on the back of high natural gas prices next week, putting it on track for a record annual profit this year of $54.80 billion, more than its total earnings since 2018.
The share surge gave the corporation a market worth of $438 billion, making it 10th highest valued public company in the world.