Exxon Mobil expects to take up to $20 billion writedown in Q4

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Exxon Mobil Inc. said it expects higher oil and gas and chemical prices to boost fourth-quarter earnings, but it is also expecting to write down $18 to $20 billion of upstream assets. In a regulatory filing, the oil giant said chemical margins would improve by $200 million to $400 million from the third quarter, while downstream margins would range from down $100 million to up $100 million. Changes in liquids prices would boost upstream earnings by up to $400 million from the third quarter. Exxon has posted losses for three straight quarters, battered by weak oil and gas prices, a slump in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a big natural gas play in the acquisition of shale producer XTO Energy that has proven to be badly-timed. The company will report fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 2. Shares were up 0.8% premarket, but have fallen 42% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 6.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 15.5%.
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