ConocoPhillips lags forecasts as Kellogg’s cuts 2012 targets

City A.M. Reporter
CONOCOPHILIPS, which is splitting into two stand-alone companies at the end of the month, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by weak refining margins.

Net profit for the first quarter was $2.9bn, or $2.27 per share, compared with $3bn, or $2.09 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding $330m on net special gains, earnings were $2.02 per share. That fell short of the analysts’ average forecast of $2.08.

Refining and marketing profit fell to $452m from $482m a year earlier, while the oil and gas exploration and production arm’s earnings, excluding one-time items, declined to $2.13bn from $2.2bn.

Oil and gas production totalled 1.64m barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter, down 65,000 from a year earlier, but above the 1.62m it had said earlier this month that it produced.

Meanwhile, shares in Kellogg’s dropped after the world’s largest cereal company cut its full-year outlook following a disappointing first-quarter performance in Europe and in some product categories in the US.

Kellogg’s now expects operating earnings to fall two per cent to four per cent in 2012, from its prior forecast of flat or up slightly. It said sales should rise two per cent to three per cent, down from a prior forecast for growth of four per cent to five per cent.

There was also gloomy news from toymaker Hasbro, which reported a fall in sales and weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings as North American retailers struggling with high inventories put off orders.