ExxonMobil profits inch higher despite lower revenues

US oil giant ExxonMobil Thursday reported slightly higher earnings even as it reported lower revenues and continued to struggle with lower oil and gas output.

Exxon, which recently overtook Apple as the biggest US company by market capitalization, reported $9.50 billion in profits, up from $9.45 billion in the year-ago period. Revenues fell 12.3 percent to $108.8 billion.

Earnings per share rose from $2.00 to $2.12, boosted by some $5.6 billion in share repurchases implemented during the quarter and accounting for 63 million shares.

Exxon had been projected to earn $2.05 per share, according to analysts. Revenues were forecast at $119.8 billion.

Earnings were boosted by a $436 million increase in chemical profits, which partially offset a $765 million decline in the upstream division, which explores and produces oil and gas. Earnings in Exxon's downstream division, which includes refining, slipped $41 million.

Exxon continued to struggle with oil and gas output. Volumes decreased 3.5 percent from the first quarter of 2012.