Exxon Mobil

What next for UK oil and gas after a year of lower profits 

By Michael Hewson (Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK)

In contrast to the strong gains seen in 2022 the oil and gas sector has had a much more mixed year as a sharp fall in natural gas prices, and a slowdown in oil prices saw profits return to more normal levels for the sector.

In 2022 the likes of Exxon Mobil and Shell saw share price gains in excess of 60%, as both oil giants reaped the benefits of higher margins as they bounced back from the huge losses posted during the Covid pandemic.

As a whole the sector posted losses of $76bn with around $70bn of that amount as a result of write-downs and impairments on unviable or stranded assets.

As with last year the challenge for the likes of Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell remains in how they transition towards a renewable future without hammering their margins, and while we've seen a period of share price consolidation this year, we've also seen a shift in tone aw

Why Investors Should Consider Quality Dividend Stocks

Why Investors Should Consider Quality Dividend Stocks

Sure Dividend Sure Dividend 01.02.2021 08:42
Investors can buy stocks that fall into a wide variety of categories. There are growth stocks, which represent companies that are quickly expanding their businesses and reporting high revenue and/or earnings-per-share growth. Then there are value stocks, typically those with low stock valuations, as measured by various ratios such as price-to-earnings or price-to-sales. Finally, there are dividend stocks, which are companies that distribute cash to shareholders through periodic dividend payments. We believe investors looking for superior long-term returns should focus on the best dividend growth stocks, which are companies that offer the best of both worlds. The best dividend growth stocks, such as the Dividend Aristocrats, pay dividends to shareholders with the added bonus of dividend growth each year. We believe investors looking to generate long-term wealth should consider the Dividend Aristocrats. Dividend Aristocrats Overview The Dividend Aristocrats are a group of 65 stocks that have increased their dividends for at least 25 years in a row. There are additional criteria that must be satisfied in order to become a Dividend Aristocrat. For example, a company must be in the S&P 500 Index, have a market capitalization of at least $3 billion, and its shares must have a daily average volume traded of at least $5 million. The relative scarcity of the Dividend Aristocrats—which total 65 stocks out of more than 500 stocks in the S&P 500 Index—demonstrates the difficulty in raising dividends each year for over 25 consecutive years. Such a long period of time will inevitably include recessions, and a variety of other global issues to deal with. For a company to be able to raise its dividend through so many challenges, it must have a strong business model that generates steady profits year after year. It must also have long-term growth potential, and a shareholder-friendly management team that understands the importance of raising dividends each year. Another advantage of the Dividend Aristocrats is that many of them have significantly higher yields than the broader market average. For instance, the S&P 500 Index as a whole currently has an average dividend yield of 1.5%. Meanwhile, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats (NOBL), the major exchange-traded fund that tracks the Dividend Aristocrats, currently yields 2.2%. Investors can purchase a basket of all Dividend Aristocrats with NOBL, or purchase the individual stocks, many of which have even higher yields than NOBL. For example, People’s United Financial (PBCT) is a Dividend Aristocrat from the banking industry, with a high dividend yield of 5.2%. AT&T (T) is a Dividend Aristocrat with an even higher yield of 7%. Our top-ranked Dividend Aristocrat has an even higher yield than People’s United or AT&T. Our Top Dividend Aristocrat Today Exxon Mobil (XOM) is our top-ranked Dividend Aristocrat, and it is also the highest-yielding Dividend Aristocrat with a 7.7% yield. While higher-yielding stocks are often accompanied by elevated levels of risk, there are multiple quality Dividend Aristocrats with high dividend yields above 5%. In the case of Exxon Mobil, its abnormally high dividend yield is due to its plunging share price over the past few years alongside the drop in oil prices. The broader energy sector was under duress over the past few years, as a global supply glut put downward pressure on oil prices. Then, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 had a major impact on global demand for oil, which served as an added headwind for oil stocks. Exxon Mobil has deployed aggressive cost-cutting to preserve its dividend in the short-term. The company announced plans to cut its capital expenses 30% in 2020. It also announced it will cut 15% of its global workforce to further cut costs. Over the long-term, the company expects the global oil price to rebound as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. It is also betting its future on growing its production, which will be possible due to the company’s premier assets. The Permian will be a major growth driver, as the oil giant has about 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the area and expects to reach production of more than 1.0 million barrels per day in the area by 2025. Guyana, one of the most exciting growth projects in the energy sector, will be the other major growth driver of Exxon. The company has nearly tripled its estimated reserves in the area, from 3.2 billion barrels in early 2018 to nearly 9.0 billion barrels. Overall, Exxon Mobil expects to grow production by 25%, from 4 million barrels per day to 5 million barrels per day by 2025. We expect Exxon Mobil to grow earnings-per-share by 8% per year over the next five years, driven by a higher oil price as well as rising production. Although we view the stock as slightly overvalued at the present time, with a fair value price of $42 versus a current price of $46, we still see the stock as generating strong total returns. In addition to earnings-per-share growth, future returns will be driven by the high dividend yield of 7.7%. Overall, we see the potential for total returns to reach nearly 14% per year over the next five years, a highly attractive expected return for a Dividend Aristocrat. Final Thoughts Investors should not overlook the value of dividends. While growth stocks tend to receive much of the coverage in the financial media, dividend stocks have been proven to build wealth for shareholder over the long run. According to Standard & Poor’s, dividends have accounted for approximately one-third of the stock market’s total return since 1926. We believe the highest-quality dividend growth stocks, such as the Dividend Aristocrats, can generate superior long-term total returns.   By Bob Ciura of Sure Dividend
Crude Oil lays a solid ground for the next year

Crude Oil lays a solid ground for the next year

Alex Kuptsikevich Alex Kuptsikevich 23.12.2021 16:15
All this week, oil’s intraday dynamics have seen a weak start in Asia and a slump in trading in Europe, replaced by an increase in buying when US traders get in on the action. By the start of the regular session in New York, Brent crude had reached $75.4, temporarily climbing to $75.70, within arm’s length of the December highs area. Even more tellingly, oil’s dip under the 200-day moving average at the start of the week attracted buyers and did not cause an intensification of the sell-off. Last year, in October-November, a similar sell-off below the 200 SMA triggered a new momentum that buyers supported based on optimism on the news about the arrival of the vaccines. Now, comparatively optimistic reports that omicron is less likely to lead to hospitalisation. The UK and US governments have opted not to impose severe lockdowns nor stop international air travel, are acting as a driver for Crude prices as a year ago. Such news forms the necessary positive backdrop for oil, suggesting a recovery in demand. At the same time, supply growth is held back by a host of factors, from Exxon Mobil refinery accidents and supply disruptions in the Middle East to industry underinvestment in the US and UK and self-restraint from OPEC+. If the world does not face overcrowded hospitals early next year and avoids new waves of lockdown, oil is well placed on returning to above $80, laying the foundations for a trading range of $85-$100 for next year.
Is It Too Late To Begin Adapting To Higher Volatility In The Market?

Is It Too Late To Begin Adapting To Higher Volatility In The Market?

Chris Vermeulen Chris Vermeulen 07.03.2022 22:18
Now is the time for traders to adapt to higher volatility and rapidly changing market conditions. One of the best ways to do this is to monitor different asset classes and track which investments are gaining and losing money flow. Knowing what the Best Asset Now is (BAN) is critical for consistent growth no matter the market condition.With that said, buyers (countries, investors, and traders) are panicking as the commodity Wheat, for example, gained more than 40% last week.‘Panic Commodity Buying’ in Wheat – Weekly ChartAccording to the US Dept. of Agriculture, China will hold 69% of the world’s corn reserves, 60% of rice and 51% of wheat by mid-2022.Commodity markets surged to their largest gains in years as Ukrainian ports were closed and sanctions against Russia sent buyers scrambling for replacement supplies. Global commodities, commodity funds, and commodity ETFs are attracting huge capital inflows as investors seek to cash in on the rally in oil, metals, and grains.How does the Russia – Ukraine war affect global food supplies?The conflict between major commodity producers Russia and Ukraine is causing countries that rely heavily on commodity imports to feed their citizens to enter into panic buying. The breadbaskets of Ukraine and Russia account for more than 25% of the global wheat trade and nearly 20% of the global corn trade.Last week, it was reported that many countries have dangerously low grain supplies. Nader Saad, an Egypt Cabinet spokesman, has raised the alarm that currently, Egypt has only nine months’ worth of wheat in silos. The supply includes five months of strategic reserves and four months of domestic production to cover the bread needs of 102 million Egyptians. Additionally, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s economic minister, said on Thursday (3/3/22) that his country should keep “a low profile” regarding the conflict in eastern Europe, given that Israel imports 50 percent of its wheat from Russia and 30 percent from Ukraine.Sign up for my free trading newsletter so you don’t miss the next opportunity!The longer-term potential for much higher grain prices exists, but it’s worth noting that Friday’s close of nearly $12.00 a bushel for wheat is not that far away from the all-time record high of $13.30, recorded 14-years ago. According to Trading Economics, wheat has gone up 75.08% year-to-date while other commodity markets like Oats are up a whopping 85.13%, Coffee 74.68%, and Corn 34.07%.How are other markets reacting to these global events?Year-to-date comparison returns as of 3/4/2022:-9.18% S&P 500 (index), -7.49% DJI (index), -15.21% Nasdaq (index), +37.44% Exxon Mobile (oil), +20.08% Freeport McMoran (copper & gold), -20.68% Tesla (alternative energy), -24.49% Microstrategy (bitcoin play), -40.51% Meta-Facebook (social media)As stock holdings and 401k’s are shrinking it may be time to re-evaluate your portfolio. There are ETFs available that can give you exposure to commodities, energy, and metals.Here is an example of a few of these ETFs:+53.81% WEAT Teucrium Wheat Fund+41.79% GSG iShares S&P TSCI Commodity -Indexed Trust+104.40 UCO ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil+59.32% PALL Aberdeen Standard Physical Palladium SharesHow is the global investor reacting to rocketing commodity prices and increasing market volatility?We can track global money flow by monitoring the following 1-month currency graph (www.finviz.com). The Australian Dollar is up +4.25%, the New Zealand Dollar +3.72%, and the Canadian Dollar +0.30% vs. the US Dollar due to the rising commodity prices like metals and energy. These country currencies are known as commodity currencies.The Switzerland Franc +0.96%, the Japanese Yen +0.35%, and the US Dollar +0.00% are all benefiting from global capital seeking a safe haven. As volatility continues to spike, these country currencies will experience more inflows as capital comes out of depreciating assets and seeks stability.We also notice that capital outflow is occurring from the European Union-Eurodollar -4.55% and the British Pound -2.22% due to their close proximity (risk) to the Russia - Ukraine war.www.finviz.comGlobal central banks will need to begin raising their interest rates to combat high inflation!Due to the rapid acceleration of inflation, the US Federal Reserve may have been looking to raise interest rates by 50 basis points at its policy meeting two weeks from now. However, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the FED may become more cautious and consider raising interest rates by only 25 basis points on March 15-16.What strategies can help you navigate current market trends?Learn how I use specific tools to help me understand price cycles, set-ups, and price target levels in various sectors to identify strategic entry and exit points for trades. Over the next 12 to 24+ months, I expect very large price swings in the US stock market and other asset classes across the globe. I believe the markets have begun to transition away from the continued central bank support rally phase and have started a revaluation phase as global traders attempt to identify the next big trends. Precious Metals are starting to act as a proper hedge as caution and concern start to drive traders/investors into Metals and other safe-havens.Now is the time to keep your eye on the ball!I invite you to learn more about how my three Technical Trading Strategies can help you protect and grow your wealth in any type of market condition by clicking on the following link: www.TheTechnicalTraders.com
Which stock market sector is currently interesting due to its volatility?

Which stock market sector is currently interesting due to its volatility?

Purple Trading Purple Trading 18.07.2022 07:57
Which stock market sector is currently interesting due to its volatility While long-term investors in physical shares are not too interested in volatility, CFD traders can make potentially very nice profits from it. However, equity markets are vast and it can happen that an interesting title slips through one’s fingers. This article will make sure that it doesn't happen. What is volatility and how is it created If you were to equate the words volatility and nervousness (or moodiness) you would not be far off the mark. Indeed, volatility is really a measure of nervousness in the markets and where there is nervousness, there is also uncertainty. Uncertainty in the markets can arise for many different reasons, but it usually happens before the release of important macroeconomic news (on our economic calendar), you can identify those by the three bulls' heads symbols) or during unexpected events with a major impact on a particular market sector or the geopolitical order of the world (natural disasters, wars).   On the charts of trading platforms, you can recognize a highly volatile market by the dynamically changing price of the instrument, the market is said to be going up or down, and if you switch to a candle chart, you may notice large candles. Conversely, non-volatile, calm markets move sideways without any significant dips or rises. Volatility can also be historical or implied, but we'll write about that another time. Now, let’s talk about how can one potentially profit from volatility and where to find suitable markets to do so.   How to potentially profit from volatility For intraday and swing traders, volatility is the key to their potential success. For traders, often the worst situation is the so-called "sideways" market movement, where the asset in question goes "sideways" without significant movements either up or down. With small and larger price fluctuations, traders can potentially generate interesting profits. One of the most volatile markets is the stock market, where some news can trigger very significant price movements. Events such as important economic reports, a stock split, or an acquisition announcement, for example, can move the price of a given stock. In addition, traders using CFDs for share trading can also use leverage to multiply any gains (and losses) in a given volatility.   The key to potential success is choosing the right stock titles. Some stocks and sectors can be considered more volatile, while others can go longer periods of time without significant fluctuations. So how do you look for volatility? Several indicators measure price movements in stocks, perhaps the most well-known is beta, which measures the volatility of a given stock compared to a benchmark stock index (typically the S&P 500 for US stocks). The beta indicator is listed on most well-known stock sites, but we can calculate it using the following formula: Beta = 1 In this case, the stock is highly correlated with the market and we can expect very similar movements to the benchmark index.   Beta < 1 If the beta is less than 1, we can consider the stock to be potentially less volatile than the stock market.   Beta > 1 Stocks with a beta greater than 1 are theoretically more volatile than the benchmark index. So, for example, if a stock's beta is 1.1, we think of it as 10% more volatile. It is stock titles with a beta above 1 that should be of most interest to investors looking to take advantage of volatility. However, it is not enough to monitor the beta alone, traders should not forget to monitor important news and fundamentals related to the company and the market in general. Thus, it is advisable to choose a few companies whose stocks have been significantly volatile in the past and where we expect strong movements due to positive and negative news to continue. So which sectors may be worth following? In which sectors can you potentially benefit from high volatility? Energy sector The energy companies sector has historically been one of the most volatile, as confirmed by the course of 2022 so far. The price development of energy companies is of course strongly linked to the price of energy commodities. These have had a great year - both natural gas and oil have appreciated by several tens of percent since the beginning of the year. However, this growth has not been without significant fluctuations, often by higher units of percent per day. The current geopolitical situation and growing talk of recession promise to continue the volatility in the sector. In the chart below, you can see the movement of Exxon Mobil Corp shares in recent weeks. Chart 1: Exxon Mobil shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages Travel industry Shares of companies related to the travel industry have always been very volatile. According to data from the beginning of the year (NYU Stern), even the companies classified as hotels and casinos were the most volatile when measured by beta. Given the coronavirus pandemic, this is not surprising. However, the threat of coronavirus still persists and there is currently the talk of another wave. However, global demand for travel is once again strong. Airlines and hotels are beginning to recover from the previous two dry years. As a result, both positive and negative news promises potential volatility going forward. In the chart below, you can see the movement of Hilton Hotels Corp shares in recent weeks. Chart 2: Hilton Hotels shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages Technology Technology is a very broad term - some companies in a given sector can be considered "blue chip" stocks, which can generally be less volatile and have the potential to appreciate nicely over time. These include Apple or Microsoft, for example. However, even these will not escape relatively high volatility in 2022. Traders looking for even stronger moves, however, will be more interested in smaller companies such as Uber, Zoom Technologies, Palantir, or PayPal. In the chart below, we can see the evolution of Twitter stock, which has undergone significant volatility in recent weeks. This was linked to the announcement of the acquisition (April gap) and its recent recall by Elon Musk. With both opposing parties facing a court battle, similarly wild news is just more water on the volatility mill. Chart 3: Twitter shares on the MT4 platform on the H1 timeframe along with the 50 and 100-day moving averages There are, of course, more sectors that are significantly volatile. Traders can follow companies in the healthcare sector, for example, where coronavirus vaccine companies are among the most interesting ones. Restaurants or aerospace and chemical companies can also be worth looking at. But few things can move stock markets as significantly as the economic cycle. We'll look at the impact of expansion and recession on stocks in our next article.  
EUR: Testing 1.0700 Support Ahead of ECB Meeting

A Week of Earnings and Central Bank Decisions: Fed, ECB, and BoJ Meetings in Focus

Ipek Ozkardeskaya Ipek Ozkardeskaya 24.07.2023 10:20
A week packed with earnings and central bank decisions Last week ended on a caution note after the first earnings from Big Tech companies were not bad, but not good enough to further boost an already impressive rally so far this year. The S&P500 closed the week just 0.7% higher, Nasdaq slipped 0.6%, while Dow Jones recorded its 10th straight week of gains, the longest in six years, hinting that the tech rally could be rotating toward other and more cyclical parts of the economy as well.   This week, the earnings season continues in full swing. 150 S&P500 companies are due to announce their second quarter earnings throughout this week. Among them we have Microsoft, which is pretty much the main responsible of this year's tech rally thanks to its ChatGPT, Meta, Alphabet, Visa, GM, Ford, Intel, Coca-Cola and some energy giants including Exxon Mobil and Chevron.   On the economic calendar, we have a busy agenda this week as well. Today, we will be watching a series of flash PMI figures to get a sense of how economies around the world felt so far in July, then important central bank meetings will hit the fan from tomorrow. The early data shows that both manufacturing and services in Australia remained in the contraction zone, as Japan's manufacturing PMI dropped to a 4-month low in July. German figures could also disappoint those watching the EZ numbers.   On the central banks front, the Federal Reserve (Fed), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will meet this week, and the first two are expected to announce 25bp hike each to further tighten monetary conditions on both sides of the Atlantic.     Zooming into the Fed, activity on Fed funds futures gives almost 100% chance for this week's 25bp hike. But many think that this week's rate hike could be the last of this tightening cycle, as inflation is cooling. But the resilience of the US labour market, and household consumption will likely keep the Fed cautiously hawkish, and not announce the end of the tightening cycle this Wednesday. There is, on the contrary, a greater chance that we will hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell rectify the market expectations and talk about another rate hike in September or in November. Therefore, the risks tied to this week's FOMC meeting are tilted to the hawkish side, and we have more chance of hearing a hawkish surprise rather than a dovish one. Regarding the market reaction, as this week's Fed meetings falls in the middle of a jungle of earnings, stock investors will have a lot to price on their plate, so a hawkish statement from the Fed may not directly impact stock prices if earnings are good enough. Bond markets, however, will clearly be more vulnerable to another delay of the end of the tightening cycle. The US 2-year yield consolidates near the 4.85% level this morning, and risks are tilted to the upside. For the dollar, there is room for further recovery as the bearish dollar bets stand at the highest levels on record and a sufficiently hawkish Fed announcement could lead to correction and repositioning.  Elsewhere, another 25bp hike from the ECB is also seen as a done deal by most investors. What investors want to know is what will happen beyond this week's meeting. So far, at least 2 more 25bp hikes were seen as almost certain by investors. Then last week, some ECB officials cast doubt on that expectation. Now, a September rate hike in the EZ is all but certain. The EURUSD remains under selling pressure near the 1.1120 this morning, the inconclusive Spanish election is adding an extra pressure to the downside.   Finally, the BoJ is expected to do nothing, again, this week. Japanese policymakers will likely keep the policy rate steady in the negative territory and the YCC policy unchanged. The recent U-turn in BoJ expectations, and the broad-based rebound in the US dollar pushed the USDJPY above the 140 again last Friday, and there is nothing to prevent the pair from re-testing the 145 resistance if the Fed is sufficiently hawkish and the BoJ is sufficiently dovish.     By Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Senior Analyst | Swissquote Bank  
Worsening Crisis: Dutch Medicine Shortage Soars by 51% in 2023

Navigating the Shifting Tides: Assessing the Oil and Gas Sector's Trajectory After a Year of Profit Fluctuations

Michael Hewson Michael Hewson 27.12.2023 15:01
What next for UK oil and gas after a year of lower profits  By Michael Hewson (Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK) In contrast to the strong gains seen in 2022 the oil and gas sector has had a much more mixed year as a sharp fall in natural gas prices, and a slowdown in oil prices saw profits return to more normal levels for the sector. In 2022 the likes of Exxon Mobil and Shell saw share price gains in excess of 60%, as both oil giants reaped the benefits of higher margins as they bounced back from the huge losses posted during the Covid pandemic. As a whole the sector posted losses of $76bn with around $70bn of that amount as a result of write-downs and impairments on unviable or stranded assets. As with last year the challenge for the likes of Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell remains in how they transition towards a renewable future without hammering their margins, and while we've seen a period of share price consolidation this year, we've also seen a shift in tone away from keeping the green lobby happy. There now seems to be a more hard-nosed and pragmatic approach, which has helped both Exxon and Shell's share price make new record highs over the second half of the year, although as oil and gas prices have declined so have share prices.   Consolidation year for BP and Shell As a whole the sector saw demand and prices collapse during that Covid period and it would appear that those experiences during that time may have shaped OPEC's response to this year's supply and demand concerns. Fearing another oversupply issue OPEC and Russia have kept much tighter control over production output, announcing cuts in April and then continuing those caps through the summer and into next year in an attempt to keep a floor under prices.   Along with further geopolitical uncertainty on top of Russia's war in Ukraine, in October we also had to contend with the Hamas savage attack on Israel's northern border, and Israel's response which prompted concerns over transit routes around the Gulf region.   With inflationary pressures subsiding and energy prices stabilising at lower levels the oil and gas sector for now appears to focussing on what it does best in generating cash, with new CEOs for both Shell and BP marking a potential shift in thinking when it comes to renewables. Under their previous incumbents, Shell's Ben Van Buerden and BP's Patrick Looney the focus was very much on transitioning away from oil and gas and towards a much lower margin future of renewable energy.    While a laudable goal it soon became apparent that while the politics was very much geared to that, there was a growing realisation that it couldn't be done cheaply and not without enormous damage to the energy and economic security of everybody. When Wael Sarwan took over as CEO of Shell he recognised this reality quickly, pushing back against the prevailing narrative and outright hysteria of politicians and activists that it could be done cheaply and easily.   In June he pushed back by saying that "We need to continue to create profitable business models that can be scaled at pace to truly impact the decarbonisation of the global energy system. We will invest in the models that work – those with the highest returns that play to our strengths" in a broadside at some of the recent reckless narrative and almost hysterical calls to cut back on fossil fuel use whatever the cost. While this has caused some unease in some parts of the Shell business it appears to be an acknowledgment of the reality that the transition to renewables will be a gradual process especially given the current levels of geopolitical uncertainty that are serving to drive the costs of the energy transition ever higher.   It is a little worrying that politicians have been unable to grasp this reality, continuing to push the myth that wind power is cheap, as the silent majority push back over the reality that the transition will be ruinously expensive if done too quickly.   When Shell reported its Q2 numbers in July profits fell short of expectations due to the sharp falls in both natural gas and crude oil prices that occurred over that quarter. The rally in oil and gas prices since then has ensured that this didn't happen in Q3 with profits coming in line with forecasts, which given that all its peers saw their numbers come in light was particularly notable.   Q3 profits came in at $6.22bn, in line with expectations helped by improvements in refining margins as well as higher oil and gas prices and a better performance in its trading division. The integrated gas part of the business saw profits remain steady and were in line with Q2 at $2.5bn.   Upstream saw a solid improvement on Q2's $1.68bn, rising to $2.22bn, although we've still seen a steep fall from the same quarter last year. On renewables we saw that part of the business sink to a loss of -$67m, due to lower margins and seasonal impacts in Europe, as well as higher operating expenses. Shell's chemicals and products division also did much better in Q3, its profits rising to $1.38bn helped by an improvement in refining margins due to lower global product supply as well as higher margins in trading and optimisation, although chemicals were still a drag on profitability overall.   On the outlook Shell nudged the upper end of expectations for capital expenditure down by $1bn to between $23bn to $25bn, as well as increasing the buyback to $3.5bn. While Shell's share price has held up reasonably well the same can't be said for BP which while holding onto last year's gains has lagged behind Shell, although BP was able to get close to its February highs in the middle of October.  

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