Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation Get Smacked By Earnings

Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) are making it hard for the Dow to hold on to gains

Jul 31, 2015 at 1:58 PM
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Bulls and bears are playing a mean game of tug of war with the Dow today. On the one side, there is a soft batch of economic data -- which has traders chewing on the possibility that a September rate hike may not happen. On the other side, there is a dismal round of earnings reports from blue-chip energy heavyweights Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), with each stock sitting decidedly lower.

CVX, for example, is down 4.5% at $88.82 -- and fresh off a three-year low of $88.56 -- after the company posted its worst quarterly profit in almost 13 years. Specifically, CVX said its second-quarter adjusted profit was 97 cents per share, well below the $1.16  per share analysts were expecting. Revenue, meanwhile, arrived above the consensus estimate. "Multiple efforts to improve future earnings and cash flows are underway," said CEO John Watson in a subsequent statement.

Today's negative price action just echoes the equity's longer-term trajectory, with Chevron Corporation off 33% from its annual high of $131.97, tagged one year ago today. Option traders have kept the faith, though, and at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), CVX's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.32 ranks in the 74th annual percentile. It's just more of the same this afternoon, with calls trading at 1.8 times what's typically seen, and buy-to-open activity detected at the equity's weekly 7/31 90-strike call.

It's a similar set-up for XOM, which has surrendered 4.4% to churn near $79.40 -- and hit a three-year low of $78.93. This morning, the company said its second-quarter profit plunged 52% to $1 per share, missing the average forecast for $1.11 per share. Sales, on the other hand, came in above what analysts were expecting.

Longer term, the security has struggled in step with crude -- down 22% since notching an annual high of $101.98 this time last year. This post-earnings sell-off could find a welcoming committee in the options pits. Exxon Mobil Corporation's 50-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.99 sits higher than 86% of all comparable readings taken in the past year. It's a trend that's continuing in today's session, with puts crossing the tape at four times what's typically seen at this point in the day.

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