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Exxon Mobil reports 3Q results Thursday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. reports third-quarter earnings on Thursday, and analysts expect earnings per share will be lower than a year ago.

In the second quarter, Exxon produced less oil and gas and sold it at lower prices than in the same period last year, although the sale of assets allowed it to boast a 49 percent increase in net income.

Exxon is known for disciplined investing, and it expects demand for oil to grow over the long term. The company, which made a big bet on natural gas with the 2010 acquisition of XTO Energy, agreed last month to spend $1.6 billion to increase its U.S. oil holdings.

Dahlman Rose & Co. analyst Asit Sen said Exxon has a strong portfolio of big projects around the world, giving it a diverse and impressive resource base. But production growth "has been uninspiring," Sen said in a note this month, while projecting that production will rise an average 2 percent to 3 percent per year from 2014 through 2017.

Exxon's shares rose 7 percent during the third quarter and through Tuesday were up 7 percent for the year.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of $1.95 per share, excluding special gains and charges, on revenue of $112.4 million.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The Irving, Texas-based company reported net income of $10.33 billion, or $2.13 per share, in the third quarter of 2011. Revenue jumped 32 percent to $125.3 billion on higher oil prices.