The Real Reason Why ExxonMobil Profits Suck

Because they are too freaking low!  ExxonMobil (XOM) is a cyclical company that is following on 20 years of middling prices for their commodity and finally have a price spike, and they only manage to make 8.5% return on sales  ($11.68 billion profit on $138 billion of revenues).  At the top of their cycle they are barely making the same profit margin as the average industrial company.  This is not good.   Sure, the absolute dollars are large, but it is a large company, and the absolute dollars of revenues, expenses, and taxes are also large.

While this outcome may be confusing to many  (since the press and politicians insist on calling these mediocre profits "windfall"), they are in effect the reflection of a new reality for western oil companies.  Less and less do companies like XOM operate their own oil fields.  They are increasingly concession operators or really glorified service companies and middle men to state producers. 

Disclosure:  I am an XOM stockholder, and I am not happy.

Postscript:  This from Mark Perry is kind of interesting:

Exxon has already paid $19.828 billion in income taxes for 2008 (data here),
and will probably pay almost $40 billion in income taxes this year (see
graph above, income tax data for 1999-2007 taken from Exxon's annual
reports).

To
put $40 billion of income taxes in perspective, it can be reasonably
estimated that Exxon will pay more in income taxes this year (both here
and outside the U.S.) than the entire bottom 50% of American individual
taxpayers (about 67 million) will pay in income taxes this year.

Perry has a number of notes and updates in response to questions about how he got these figures at the bottom of his post.

Update:  Yahoo Finance data and ranking on profitability by industry.  Integrated oil companies come in around #60.

  • Methinks

    Where was the flood of people throwing money at oil producers in 1998 when they were struggling through $10/bbl oil? Those low prices were a windfall for consumers just as high oil prices are a windfall for producers. Pass the subsidy plate.

  • mbabbitt

    Even so-called right-leaners like John McCain and Bill O'Reilly demonize the oil companies. It's silly and destructive to our way of life.

  • Doug

    When, oh when, will we ever see Affordable Government? Hah!

  • Yoshidad

    Perhaps the fact that corporate taxes have never been lower makes these figures even more stunning. Warren Buffett recently complained that his secretary paid higher income tax rates than he did.

    And if "fairness" is the criterion by which we ought to judge whether profitability is deserved, lets not forget that median real wages have been relatively flat for 30 years while the top 0.01% of income earners got a 497% raise (I wish I was making it up). This means that the fruits of these decades' productivity gains -- and such gains were measurable -- went primarily to those at the top. Is *that* fair?

    See http://www.truthout.org/article/paul-krugman-graduates-versus-oligarchs for this: "A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, 'Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?,' gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn't a ticket to big income gains.

    But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint."

    See http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/therich.html for a little historical perspective. Notice that "the 1947-73 numbers show what real, broad-based prosperity looks like. Over that period incomes of all groups rose at roughly the same rapid clip, more than 2.5 percent annually." -- and this was when top marginal tax rates were 70% and up.

    The whole meme that lowering taxes increases growth is also laid to rest here. In fact, this link also debunks most of the other "conservative" baloney promulgated in response to those who say the wealthy have had a free ride. (See the bottom of the linked article for tables and figures it refers to.)

    Still, I'm betting we'll still see sympathetic-to-Exxon posts here. Oh, the humanity! They only paid Lee Raymond, their retiring CEO $400 million! Such a pittance! Could these outrageous fortunes paid their execs be expenses that would diminish the reported profit? Probably an indication of other expenses that do.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Unbelievable, more economic horseshit from Yoshalist.

    Warren Buffett is an idiot, and is wrong about his tax burden. He needs to shut up about the death tax, or pay it himself (he has already effectively avoided doing this).

    As usual, most of the other citations are wrong, see here.

    As for oil company profits, as an investor, I am entitled to those. Get your hands off my daughter's college fund, you crapulent socialist scumbag.

  • Methinks

    This means that the fruits of these decades' productivity gains -- and such gains were measurable -- went primarily to those at the top. Is *that* fair?

    How do I put this? Yes. Since most of the people who are at the top took enormous risks to get there and risk and reward are inextricably linked, then it is completely fair. I own my own business, work long hours, take the risk of losing my life savings (invested in the business) and eat only what I kill. Is it fair that you should take my gains and redistribute them to some employee of some large firm who is happy in a low risk middle management job working 9 to 5 and getting a steady paycheck? How long do you think I'll be willing to take the risks I take if you take away the reward? Not one more minute. Then what will you redistribute?

    lets not forget that median real wages have been relatively flat for 30 years

    Oh, yes. Whatever we do, let's not forget that old canard. Wages have not been flat for 30 years. 1.) the people in those wage brackets are not the same as the people 30 years ago. 2.) non-wage "perks" like health insurance have grown both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total compensation and are not counted in the money wage calculation which you and other lefties persist in citing. 3.) Bonuses and tips - increasingly a larger portion of total compensation, are not counted in "wages". Thus, total compensation has risen over time. Perpetuating leftist fiction doesn't make it any less fictional.

    Still, I'm betting we'll still see sympathetic-to-Exxon posts here. Oh, the humanity!

    Yep. I was an oil analyst in the late 90's - when oil was around $10/bbl and oil producers were bleeding and laying off workers. Where were you and your lefty buddies then with subsidies? Oh,that's right. Profit is evil and oil companies should bleed dry in the bad times and take no profit in the good times and they can continue to do that ad infinitum because up is down and down is up. Also, profit is bad (duh). It alienates man. Your Marxist bullshit has been tried in several countries already and...um...do I really need to cite sources to prove that it didn't work out? Yet, you're proof that there is no shortage of Marxist idiots still out there. It's like you're all brain damaged.

  • DKH

    Yoshidad:

    You seem to like this "457% raise" statistic (I wouldn't know what others you like, since I normally get two sentences into your post and then skim the rest; please work on your presentation). I've seen you quote the stat several times. Who are the top 0.01% that got this raise? Bill Gates? Wait...he wasn't even in the top 0.01% 30 years ago, was he?

    You've chosen a statistic and are quoting it as though it represents the entire truth of the situation. But it's not. The people in the top 0.01% of earners 30 years ago do not comprise the top 0.01% today. They are new people, who have taken new risks (as Methinks points out above). We should celebrate that these people can produce so much more effectively now than previously.

    You also have some comments on "fairness." I know there is no way that I could judge and distribute money and other economic goods "fairly." I'm shocked that there are people in the world who think they can. Such arrogance astounds me. As far as I'm concerned, we have to depend on people's individual choices to determine what is "fair" for themselves.

  • Ian Random

    I just shake my head when people talk only about salary being stagnant. The only graph on compensation and wages I could find shows year to year change. You can get the picture that fringe benefits have been increasing faster than salary and that folks is where your raises have been going for years. I was talking to my insurance agent about small business insurance and he said despite the fact he was lumped in with other agents, his health insurance premiums where going up significantly every year.

    http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/trends/2007/0207/06ecoact_020107-1.gif

  • Yoshidad

    I cited the link and the source for the 497% (not 457%) raise for top income earners, but DKH still asks who gets the raise: The top 0.01% gets roughly $6 million plus in income. You'll see this if you follow the link. Those $6+ millionaires are the guys getting the raise while median real wages remain relatively flat. DKH, your statement about income mobility is also baloney. See the link here: http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/therich.html for the complete debunk of this "conservative" meme. Haven't I cited this before?

    Meanwhile, Mesa Econoguy has once again demonstrated the limits to his thinking. He claims to refute the last 30 years of growing income inequality with a Wall St. Journal opinion page article here: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010855.

    The truth is that the conclusions based on this study are bogus. For details of the refutation, see here: http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/11/inequality-and-.html. The refutation in this link is, unlike the Wall St. Journal, from a real economist. I'll paste the the argument later in this post. Trust me, though, it's crap.

    Meanwhile, I just realized why the original post lamenting Exxon's low profits in this thread is bogus too. Exxon has been engaged in a stock buy-back scheme! That means they can understate their dividends (taxed at ordinary income rates), and, with the buyback, presumably raise their stock prices (taxed at lower capital gains rates). This makes perfect sense, but does not mean a legitimate grievance about lower profits exist.

    In fact, if I were a CEO, and the commodity I was selling went from $1.75 a barrel in 1971 to approximately $140 now -- as Exxon's did -- and I couldn't show an enormous profit, then I should be fired as the CEO of that company. People in the oil business are used to such wild price gyrations, BTW. That's why the kindly John D. Rockefeller made a price-fixing monopoly. Many others followed.

    Anyway, I've seen laments that the distribution of the profits in stock buy-back rather than additional exploration is disappointing, and that the stock's performance is disappointing, but Exxon's reported profits hardly describe the whole picture.

    Of course, in calling Warren Buffett an idiot, Mesa Econoguy reveals even more sad qualities (and cites more propaganda from Cato). The facts contradict both Buffett's mental deficiency (he can buy and sell the likes of Mesa Econoguy... so if you're qualified to judge his intelligence, Mesa Econoguy, why aren't you rich too?), and the idea that corporate taxes are high. Such taxes are plumbing the depths of the lowest they've ever been.

    Yes, yes, I know that if we only unleashed the top bracket capitalists, we'd see some huge surge in productivity and growth, blah, blah, blah. Except this has been tried, and failed. Reality does not confirm this meme. Read Krugman's "Peddling Prosperity" and Ravi Batra's "Greenspan's Fraud" for the details and footnotes. Or ask yourself, "If this belief is true, why did the economy do so well after Clinton's administration raised the top brackets?"

    But more seriously, Mesa Econoguy, all you reveal when you attempt to insult me is your own ill treatment at the hands of your parents, and the delusional belief that your opinions matter to me. Really and truly: get professional help.

    Here's the debunk of the income inequality "facts" by Wall St. Journalizers:

    "Let’s give the fact first: families who start out with high income on average have low or negative income growth over the next decade, while families who start out with low income on average see their incomes rise rapidly. This is true in both the Urban Institute and the Treasury data. In the Urban Institute’s numbers, families in the bottom quintile in 1977 saw their income rise 77 percent by 1986, while families in the top quintile saw their income rise only 5 percent. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Craig Roberts, and others have seized upon this kind of number as evidence that the poor actually did better than the rich in the 1980s. Let me call this the 'WSJ calculation.'

    "The WSJ calculation seems striking; but on reflection it is completely consistent with the conclusion that the U.S. has rapidly growing inequality. It shows only that there is indeed some income mobility but nobody denied that. And it is no more a sign that supply-side policies helped the poor than the fact that very few people win the lottery several years in a row.

    "Unfortunately, it is hard to explain this without a numerical example: Imagine an economy in which in any given year half of the families earn $100,000 and the other half earn $200,000. And imagine also that this economy fits the blender model, so that a family that starts in the bottom half has a 50 percent chance of being in the top half ten years later, and conversely.

    "Now do the WSJ calculation. Families that start in the bottom half begin with $100,000; ten years later, on average they have $150,000, so they gain 50 percent. Families that start in the top half begin with $200,000; ten years later, on average they also have $150,000, so they lose 33 percent.

    "But has the distribution of income gotten more equal? No: it is unchanged. All that we see is the familiar statistical phenomenon of “regression toward the mean.” Essentially, the initially rich have nowhere to go but down, the initially poor nowhere to go but up. So if the income distribution were stable, any income mobility would inevitably produce the WSJ result; and it is not surprising that we still get it even when income inequality is rising."

    --

    Finally, to the entrepreneurs who have taken mighty risks: You are courageous and worthy of respect. On the other hand, if risk were the only indicator of who should be paid more, then thieves and illegal immigrants should be getting the very top wages.

    No, to deserve the big money, you have to produce something valued by society. And the idea of a society, or that we're in this together is altogether missing from the assumption that because you take a risk you deserve all treasure known to man. Worse still, if you do not acknowledge the contribution of migrant labor, no matter how much you make, you still won't be able to buy tomatoes with it. Migrant laborers -- now there are some guys who take risks!

    So what's missing is from these "get your slimy hands off my precious money" posts is the idea that "we're all in it together." All I'm promoting is the idea that there is actually a place for intelligent public policy, and without it you would be living in a cave (there would be nothing to purchase no matter how much money you had).

    What the original post promoted was at least deceptive. The idea that public policy that has lowered the top progressive income tax brackets while quadrupling regressive FICA taxes hasn't contributed to income inequality, if not unfairness, is also beyond the pale.

  • Methinks

    (he can buy and sell the likes of Mesa Econoguy... so if you're qualified to judge his intelligence, Mesa Econoguy, why aren't you rich too?)

    Well, genius, according to you it's because the evil Warren Buffoon stole Mesa's piece of the fixed pie. How is it you're too dumb to understand your own arguments?

    Finally, to the entrepreneurs who have taken mighty risks: You are courageous and worthy of respect.

    Right. But not the financial reward we produce, eh sparky?

    No, to deserve the big money, you have to produce something valued by society.

    Uh...yeah. That's the only way for entrepreneurs to make money. That's why 80% of start-ups fail int he first five years - they don't produce things others value.

    then thieves and illegal immigrants should be getting the very top wages.

    Thieves are already getting the top wages. For proof, you need only look at congress - the American Nomenklatura.

    while quadrupling regressive FICA taxes hasn't contributed to income inequality,

    I thought you lefties are screeching that it's not a redistribution program. Isn't all that is supposed to be forced savings for retirement? Which is it? Because if it's welfare, I'd be happy to cut it and if it's social security retirement savings, then you need to shut up.

    All I'm promoting is the idea that there is actually a place for intelligent public policy, and without it you would be living in a cave

    All you're promoting is theft. I've heard your socialist propaganda long enough before I immigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States. You've invented nothing new. There, we considered ourselves lucky to find a cave to live in. And there, we had nothing to purchase. Hey, but the income inequality was small among the 95% of us who were living in shit (b zhope - "in the ass" is the literal translation) while the income inequality between us and the Nomenklatura would make the French blush.

    Jeez. Even after the collapse of socialism around the world, you half-wits continue to promote your garbage.

  • Exxon investor

    I'm not sure yoshidad understands what a buy-back scheme actually does. In lieu of being able to invest in future growth, there aren't enough valuable capital projects for them to invest in, so awash in cash, XOM's option is to either pay a dividend to its shareholders, or plow it back into the company's stock. In XOM's case, the buyback was made at an average price of 46-48 bucks, so on average, it made its shareholders billions more in stock gains, even though its profit number remained unchanged. In the end, profit is a meaningless number, investors chase return. If XOM was to invest in capital projects, one would presume that their profit margin would actually be lower than it already is.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    I find it extremely amusing that Yoshalist thinks I’m not “rich,” which is anyone with more than $10 bucks to his name according to him. Suddenly, you’re clairvoyant, in addition to quoting from spurious sources, Yoshhole? How is that even relevant to anything I said about the world’s richest hypocrite? My God, you’re dumb…

    Since Methinks blew 5 foot holes in all of your statements (thanks, Methinks), I’ll just stick to this one:

    All I'm promoting is the idea that there is actually a place for intelligent public policy, and without it you would be living in a cave (there would be nothing to purchase no matter how much money you had).

    No, what you’re promoting is oligarchy of the technocrat elite, i.e. people who “think” like you (idiots), who are nearly entirely ignorant of economics and economic history. People like that, and their mode of thinking have no place anywhere in public policy.

    Yoshalist, you disgust me, and probably most other regular readers of this blog, you are a despicable liar and socialist and you have zero understanding of economics (and your own arguments).

  • DKH

    Yoshidad:

    I'm not questioning your citation. I'm questioning your use of the statistic. Is it your contention that the top 0.01% of earners in our country are the same people as 30 years ago? Because that is the way your sentences read.

    Statistics teaches us that it is important to be careful in our application of the numbers. To understand what they actually tell us instead of what we want them to tell us. You are separating out a class of earners with shifting membership and presenting the statistic as though the group were static.

  • skh.pcola

    @Yoshidad: The facts contradict both Buffett's mental deficiency (he can buy and sell the likes of Mesa Econoguy... so if you're qualified to judge his intelligence, Mesa Econoguy, why aren't you rich too?)

    Does that mean that psychiatrists and psychologists who make a living by judging other people's intelligence should all be multi-billionaires? Not following your convoluted and atrophied logic here, Boss.

  • linearthinker

    On Buffett and the death tax, last I checked he profits handsomely from the death tax through an insurance offering for small businesses and family farms faced with closing down at the death of the patriarch and founder. On learning that, I began to pull back the curtain on the Wizard of Omaha.

    If I'm wrong on this, someone please correct me.

    I always enjoy a Yoshidad grilling. Put some more coals on the fire.

  • Methinks

    I began to pull back the curtain on the Wizard of Omaha.

    Note also that his money will be protected from the death tax because he's giving it all away to private charities and anything he's leaving to his family is in trust funds which are untouched by the death tax. So, Warren Buffoon will get to decide where his money goes postmortem, but we have to give it up to the government if we're not rich enough to hire clever lawyers. I guess some pigs are more equal than others.

    Also, his bitching and moaning about his "low" taxes is rather hollow. The IRS sets a lower limit on how much you must pay, it sets no upper limit. If he thinks he isn't paying enough, why don't we see him cutting a giant check to the IRS? He's such an asshole.

  • BlacquesJacquesShellacqes

    Anyway, now you've proved that poor Yoshidad is a genetically deficient ultra maroon, Exxon's profit is not much affected by the recent price spike because much of its activity is governed by long term fixed price contracts.

    The price spike is like stormy wave action on the top of a deep ocean. It looks like the storm may be ending. If the tide turns and some portion of the price increase is permanent, then there may be a difference.

  • Scott

    Yoshidad, let me clarify dividends and buybacks for you. First, a company earns pretax profit and pays 35% taxes on it, effectively on behalf of the companies owners (shareholders.) With the cash left over, they can do a few things: invest in the business (tax free), give cash to owners (dividends, taxed to owners at 15%), or buy stock from owners (if the owner sells the stock at a higher price than he bought, 15% tax also.) When one owner sells in a buyback, all the other owners then own proportionately more. For dividends, if Exxon earns $1 pretax and pays it out as a dividend, the shareholders pay first .35 cents at the corporate level and then .10 cents on the individual level, giving them net .55 cents and nothing to invest in. For reinvestment, after the .35 cents tax the remaining .65 is reinvested in the exxon business, which despite the whiners earned an average of 24% per year on equity in the last ten years. Very good, but they have limited new things to invest in. Buybacks economically are another way to reinvest in the business, as the business is buying itself, but it's paying 4x book value, so the expected return is 24/4, or 6%. This is the same return anyone investing in exxon at this price should expect. Crummy investment. They only do it so that the shareholders have a choice - if they all sell into the buyback, the effect is exactly like a dividend, but if they don't want the cash and would rather own more of the business they can do that. Since the holders selling really never have a tax basis equal to zero, the buyback is more tax efficient than a dividend, but the rates are exactly the same and the company and its owners are always taxed the least if they reinvest in the business, not the stock.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Okay, not to pile on, but let’s pile on.

    No, to deserve the big money, you have to produce something valued by society.
    Posted by: Yoshidad

    This is incredibly idiotic.

    Isn’t that precisely what XOM does? Produce oil? Oil seems to have a lot of value lately, so you can’t possibly be referring to oil companies now, can you Yoshalist?

    Oil has a productive value because it powers cars and engines and power generators and lots of stuff that moves or creates other stuff. Just because you don’t like something, because some left-wing nutjob AlGore-type told you so, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Just because a lot of people use oil, and price fluctuations affect many different economic components doesn’t mean that producers of that particular commodity or good (or even service) can’t profit from it; in fact, they should profit a lot from it, particularly if it becomes scarce, and in this case many, many shareholders can profit from it.

    That’s what free exchange of goods & services in open economies is: exchange goods & services for money, which can then in turn be exchanged for other goods & services. Yoshalist’s ignorance of this tiny but critical fact belies his ignorance of practically all else economic. If you do not understand where value comes from, or who values what and who receives exchange for value, you’re completely lost and have no business even mentioning economics, much less claiming that large corporations are somehow evil.

    Just pathetic.

  • Mesa Econoguy
  • Methinks

    Mesa,

    You say things that make sense and the Yoshidads of the world hear "blah blah blah".

    You have to be either Warren Buffet or Bill Gates for them to listen to you and even then all they hear is "tax the 'rich'".

  • Leonard Huff III

    Re: Exxon Stock

    A broker make a recommended buy to me (accountant) in Midland, Texas in 1983! Buy Exxon Stock @ $30 per share then! Make dog & pony show to ex-mother in law , who I was working for at that time!

    Exxon web site has a what if ! you would have brought $100.000 dollars of stock at that time!

    That stock would be worth at today price with dividend reinvestment @ + or - #3,000,000 (Three Million u.s. Dollars ).

    Not a bad payout for a $100.000 investment over that period of time.

    Wish I could have talked her into at the time!

    But, she was fighting the banks at the time over six drilling rigs that were worth $-0-.

    Moral of the Story! Timming is everything!

    Have a Nice Day!

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Methinks, as you know, liberals assigning moral values to means of production is communism.

  • Leonard Huff III

    AS far as the comments of the Exxon 5 year plan, think of it as this.

    Venezuelazz , Chavez , Ect. Dicatort , South american + ===== you lose all of your investment in the project that you were sucker into 1995!

    $500.000.000 million down the rat hole! = DRY HOLE!!!

    THINK ABOUT THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Mr. Huff, you have odd typing skills, but you are absolutely dead-on correct there, sir…

  • Scott

    Mr. Huff, you had me all excited but your numbers are wrong. According to the XOM website, a $100,000 investment in XOM stock in 1983 would be worth $1,690,000 today, which is just under 12% per year appreciation.

  • Leonard Huff III

    Mr. Scott:

    The one thing that I learned as a Auditor in the Accounting Field was to always test People to get a reaction!

    It work this time!

    You did your homework!

    Have A Nice Day!

  • hernandayoleary

    If Exxon is paying 40 billion in taxes, at assuming the highest corporate tax rate = 38% or so, they have to be making about 100 billion a year in profit.

    Exxon Mobile is not making a return for investors not because they aren't making profit, they are, otherwise they'd pay no tax, they are not returning money because the stock market is earning driven and not profit driven. Exxon Mobile isn't expanding.

    It has been well known for a long time that the major oil companies have REDUCED capacities since the 1990's when they over expanded and Saddam Hussein flooded the world market with cheap oil.

    Exxon has been buying up oil fields for the sole purpose of not pumping out any oil. I am an analyst at a top Venture Capital Firm, I went to the oilfields and the workers are just twiddling their thumbs and often playing video games in their mobile office all day because they are literally paid to do nothing. Often they are made to drill extra holes not for production but simply to give Exxon an advantage that if a competitor were to attempt to buy a neighboring patch they could drain the oil so fast the competitor could never turn a profit.

    In most companies you expand by selling more and increasing your earnings. It appears as if big oil has made a decision that it is best to artificially restrict supply to boost profit at the cost of earnings aka shareholders. This is because their contracts are written in such a way that they are rewarded for high profits rather than high earnings per share.

    Now some people might not understand what earnings driven stocks mean. If one company earned 100 million dollars 15 years in a row and never expanded capacity, the stock price will not change. If the other company made 10, 20, 50, 70 then 100 million dollars in 5 years the price of the stock would increase roughly ten fold (or likely more). The stock market values companies based on how much they anticipate the future value of the company will increase based on revenues. You could make a trillion dollars ten years in a row, its not going to lead to a stock price increase.

    So why would anyone in their right mind by an Exxon stock....stability. If you have 100k, or 1 million or even 10 million dollars, Exxon is not a very good buy. Exxon is worth 400+ Billion dollars. Now if your warren buffet, or someone with billions, or hundreds of millions where you going to put your money. If your a institutional investor investing for a pension fund you going to put $10 billion dollars in a stock that can swing up and down alot like apple? Or do you put your money in a 400 billion dollar company where you can liquidate your position in a day and be confident the price won't fall more than a few percent? Warren buffet has 3.7 billion in exxon. Why? Because most stocks simply aren't big enough that you could put billions into buying them and not shift the price drastically. 3.7 billion dollars is bigger than the entire fire arms industry, the 3d printing industry and alot of other industries, if he attempted to buy up shares of the largest gun manufacturer he'd only just double the price and have trouble finding a buyer.

    In other words OP, unless your a billionaire, get out of exxon and into a smaller cap oil company who is drilling and can double or triple their business easily. You have the right to be mad, but its not that exxon is bad, they just aren't right for what your looking for. There are alot of small-mid oil companies who will double, triple or quadruple their stock price. There is a chance they go broke too if they run out of money though. No risk, no reward.