Exxon Mobil Is Pushing S&P 500 Up Despite Falling Oil Prices

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) is up 1.7% as of 1:30 p.m. EDT, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) is unchanged at 1,763 after yesterday's Federal Open Market Committee statement. The largest exchange-traded fund tracking the S&P 500, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEMKT: SPY  ) , is unchanged as well.

Oil prices are down today, with WTI crude down 0.3% to $96.49 and Brent crude down 1% to $108.77. Oil prices continue to slide, especially in the U.S. as oil stockpiles continue their rise.

WTI Crude Oil Spot Price Chart

WTI Crude Oil Spot Price data by YCharts.

ExxonMobil is up after reporting better-than-expected earnings and production data last night. Earnings per share were $1.79, down 18% from last year but better than analyst expectations of $1.77 per share. Revenue was $112.4 billion, down 2.4% year over year from $115.4 billion but above analyst estimates of $107.4 billion. Production was up 1.5% -- the company's first year-over-year increase since Q2 2011 -- to an average of 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. With increased production and high oil prices, what hurt Exxon? Refining.

Refining earnings were down 80% year-over-year to $590 million, down from last year's $3.2 billion. The steep decline in refining margins due to an oversupply in the refining industry was one of the many reasons ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP  ) and Marathon Oil spun off their refining operations, creating Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum. Exxon's current struggles make their spinoff moves look all the more prescient.

Still, ExxonMobil is a highly disciplined capital-allocator. They have proven their ability to effectively manage capital over the long term.

XOM Return on Invested Capital (TTM) Chart

XOM Return on Invested Capital (TTM) data by YCharts.

If Exxon's management believes keeping the company vertically integrated is better in the long run, I give them the benefit of the doubt.

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