U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 34 mins

Tesoro 4Q profit is less than Wall Street expected

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tesoro Corp. posted a fourth-quarter profit of $27 million Wednesday after losing money a year earlier. The oil refiner said it was helped by wider margins between the cost of crude and the prices it could charge for refined products.

The adjusted profit, excluding special items, was smaller than analysts expected, and Tesoro shares fell in after-hours trading.

The company earned $27 million, or 19 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. During the same period last year it lost $124 million, or 89 cents per share.

Revenue rose 7.3 percent to $8.27 billion.

Without one-time expenses Tesoro would have made $1.34 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast a profit of $1.46 per share on revenue of $7.07 billion.

Tesoro said it benefitted from "more attractive heavy crude oil discounts on the West Coast. In general Brent crude, priced in London, has been trading with a bigger gap than usual above California crude and West Texas Intermediate.

For the full year Tesoro earned $743 million, or $5.25 per share, up from $546 million, or $3.81 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 8.8 percent to $32.97 billion.

Tesoro shares rose 93 cents to close at $51.16 before the results were released. They fell $1.01, or 2 percent, to $50.15 in extended trading.