• Chevron Corp. posted a 41 percent gain in net income for the fourth quarter as the company produced more oil and gas, improved the performance of its refinery business and realized a gain from swapping assets in an Australian natural gas field. Chevron earned $7.2 billion on revenue of $60.6 billion, up from $5.1 billion on revenue of $60 billion a year ago. It was the biggest fourth-quarter profit in the company’s history. The company’s annual profit of $26.2 billion was second only to its 2011 profit.
Exxon Mobil Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings rose 6 percent to $9.95 billion with help from higher refining profit margins. The oil giant barely missed a record for full-year earnings. It earned $44.88 billion in 2012, about $340 million shy of its 2008 mark. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 5 percent to $115.17 billion.
• Merck & Co.’s fourth-quarter profit fell 7 percent because of hits from generic competition and one-time charges, and the company pushed back plans to seek approval of a key experimental osteoporosis drug. The quarterly results beat Wall Street expectations. The world’s third-biggest drugmaker by revenue said net income was $1.4 billion.
• Tyson Foods Inc. said net income rose to $173 million, or 48 cents a share, in the quarter ending Dec. 29, from $156 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales climbed 0.9 percent to $8.4 billion.
| Star news services