The following is an excerpt from SUZANNE MCGEE | February 9, 2012 | The Fiscal Times |
What mattered when BP (BP) reported its earnings this week wasn’t what happened in the just-ended fourth quarter (pretty good news – it beat analysts’ earnings forecasts by a penny a share; revenue jumped 15 percent). And it wasn’t what happened today (it boosted its quarterly dividend 14 percent to 8 cents a share), much less what is happening to its underlying business (CEO Bob Dudley predicted operating cash flow could surge 50 percent if oil prices remain around $100 a barrel). Nearly two years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Macondo well is still casting a long shadow over the company’s valuation and prospects for a higher stock price.
That’s understandable. The legal mess resulting from the disastrous spill is far from being sorted out — and a trial to allocate liability among BP, Anadarko Petroleum (APC), Transocean (RIG), Halliburton (HAL) is scheduled to start in New Orleans on Feb. 27. So investors might be forgiven for still being uncertain about the impact of the disaster on BP’s future profits and cash flow.
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