Chevron profit falls 43% on falling oil prices

Chevron said Friday that its profit fell 43 percent in its first quarter as it dealt with falling oil prices. But its earnings still beat Wall Street expectations as it aggressively cut costs.

Shares of the oil and gas company fell $1.30, or 1.2 percent, to $109.76 in morning trading.

Several energy companies have announced plans to trim their spending and cut back on drilling due to lower oil prices. Oil prices have plunged as production continues to increase in the U.S. Chevron said it cut costs more than 30 percent to $31.65 billion in the three months ending March 31.

Chevron said its exploration and production business was most hurt by lower oil prices. That unit's earnings fell 64 percent to $1.56 billion. Its oil refining business fared better, doubling its earnings to $1.42 billion.

The San Ramon, California-based company reported total first-quarter earnings of $2.57 billion, or $1.37 per share, compared with $4.51 billion, or $2.36 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street expectations, but Chevron does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 74 cents per share.

Revenue fell 35 percent to $34.56 billion in the period.

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