Associated Press//May 25, 2011
//May 25, 2011
DALLAS — Exxon rode higher oil prices to a $30 billion profit last year. But shareholders at its annual meeting Wednesday are likely to ask pointed questions about its big push into natural gas.
Since buying XTO Energy last year for $29 billion, Exxon Mobil Corp. has become the largest natural gas company in the United States.
So far, the deal has backfired. Natural gas prices remain far below 2008 levels. That’s one reason, analysts say, Exxon’s stock has lagged behind that of rivals Chevron and ConocoPhillips.
Exxon’s stock rose 7 percent last year, compared with gains of 19 percent gain at Chevron and 33 percent at Conoco. Shares have been more competitive so far this year. Still, only four of 17 analysts surveyed by FactSet rate Exxon a “Buy.”-