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BP Profits Drop 19%

LONDON -- The shares of BP  (LSE: BP  ) (NYSE: BP  ) edged 9 pence higher to 471 pence during early London trade this morning, even though the oil major admitted its full-year profits had declined 19%.

BP, the third-largest constituent within the FTSE 100, said adjusted earnings on a replacement cost basis had dropped from $21.6 billion to $17.6 billion. The company added that its fourth-quarter profit calculated on the same basis fell by $1 billion to $4 billion.

BP claimed the earnings shortfall was due to lower downstream production following various asset sales made during the last year or two. Some 2.3 million barrels of oil were produced a day during 2012, down 6% on 2011.

Today's annual figures also included a further $5 billion charge relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which took the aggregate cost recognized by BP to $42 billion. Other figures of interest included net debt of $28 billion and total capital expenditure of $23 billion.

BP declared a $0.09 fourth-quarter dividend to match the higher payout set three months ago.

Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said:

We have moved past many milestones in 2012, repositioning BP through divestments and bringing on new projects. This lays a solid foundation for growth into the long term. Moving through 2013 we will deliver further operational milestones and remain on track for delivery of our ten-point strategic plan, including our target for operating cash flow growth, by 2014.

BP's results revealed earnings of about 58 pence per share and suggested the current 12-month dividend would be around 23 pence per share.

Those numbers place the shares on a P/E of 8 and yield of 5%.

Certainly those ratings look attractive in relation to the wider FTSE 100, but there are other blue chips around that trade on similar ratings.

Indeed, if you already own BP shares, you may wish to read this exclusive in-depth report about another high-income opportunity within the FTSE 100.

The company in question offers a 5.7% income, might be worth 850p versus around 700 pence now -- and has just been declared "The Motley Fool's Top Income Stock for 2013." Just click here to download the report -- it's free.

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