A pair of slick earnings beats from Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. are helping to send the oil giants' shares higher in Friday's session.
The high point for Exxon
XOM, + 3.60%
was its downstream business, which performed well across the industry, according to the company's release. Exxon benefited from its integration of logistics and manufacturing, allowing it to offset negative secular trends. The company had a lower effective tax rate during the quarter than it did earlier in the year, which Mizuho analyst Paul Sankey said "flattered" the company's numbers.
Two of Chevron's
CVX, + 3.24%
Australian projects, Wheatstone and Gorgon, produced nicely during the December period, and management expects that the first sales for the Wheatstone domestic-gas development will come “imminently.” [1
More notable reports
• Rounding out the trio of Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA, + 0.26%
components reporting on Friday morning was Merck & Co.
MRK, + 2.71%
sales of its Keytruda immunotherapy drug, but Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat was encouraged by Keytruda's strength internationally. Shares are heading higher in Friday morning trading.
Don't miss: Dow's 3 earnings reporters adding nearly 40 points to the rally
• The Rockettes helped drive growth in Madison Square Garden Co.'s
MSG, + 0.42% entertainment division, but the company disclosed that in its sporting business, MSG recorded lower revenues from food, drinks, and merchandise. MSG said that its latest numbers are directly comparable to the year-ago ones.
• Commercial aerospace, defense and warehouse automation were all strong business areas for Honeywell International Inc.
HON, + 0.75%
which is seeing its shares move higher
• Cigna Corp.'s
results topped expectations, but proposed changes to the rebate system have investors' nervous.