Chevron Blows Through All Profit Forecasts Amid Crude Rally

(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp. surpassed every first-quarter profit and production estimate, raising the possibility of a resumption of share buybacks later this year.

Chevron earned $1.90 a share during the first three months of the year, well in excess of the $1.47 average of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The company also pumped more crude and natural gas than observers anticipated, Chevron said Friday in a statement, enhancing the benefits from rallying oil prices.

Chevron rose 1.6 percent at 8:39 a.m. in New York. The stock has advanced about 20 percent in the past year.

CEO Mike Wirth hinted last month that he will consider resuming buybacks. With in-built production growth from previous years’ spending, Chevron increased its dividend 3.7 percent earlier this year. But what investors are really looking for is for a resumption of its share buyback program that was suspended in 2015.

In his March remarks, Wirth said he’d like to do this but cautioned that board members “want to see the cash flow materialize.” Still, his pro-buybacks stance pits Wirth, who took the top job in February, in stark contrast to bigger rival Exxon Mobil Corp., which has expressed a preference to increase spending on major oil and gas projects around the world over buying back shares.

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