US, Canadian firms post big fourth-quarter profits

High oil and gas prices and improved refining and marketing margins, amplified by hurricane-related disruptions to processing capacity, bolstered quarterly earnings of US oil and gas companies in the fourth quarter of 2005.A sample of US oil and gas producers and refiners posted a 61% increase in earnings for the final 2005 quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier. For the full year, earnings were up 53%.A group of oil and gas firms based in Canada also showed a robust gain in fourth quarter net income. For the full year 2005, though, these companies’ earnings grew by a smaller margin.Meanwhile, a group of US service and supply companies recorded a 376% earnings gain fo...

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