BP Q2 Profit Misses Analysts' Estimates

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BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, reported a second-quarter profit of $5.6 billion, reversing a year-earlier record loss of $17 billion following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but even with the profit, the British oil giant missed the $5.9 billion analysts were forecasting.

The profit miss almost assures that BP (BP) will show results that are well below the $6.6 billion analysts are expecting from Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), which delivers its second-quarter report on Thursday.

BP said its second-quarter results were bolstered by higher oil prices and improved refining margins. Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and UBS said BP should follow in the footsteps of U.S. rival ConocoPhillips (COP), the third-largest U.S. oil company, and spinoff its downstream businesses to create additional shareholder value.

Global refining margins rose to an average of $13.92 a barrel in the second quarter from $11.04 year ago, according to Bloomberg News. In the second quarter, BP produced an average of 3.43 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, a decline of 11% from the year-earlier period, highlighting the impact of $25 billion in asset sales the company has engaged in to raise cash for expenses related to the Gulf spill.