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Investors Business Daily
Investors Business Daily

Think Chevron's Profit Was Obscene? 5 Companies Will Blow It Away

Chevron's giant $36.5 billion 2022 profit certainly turned heads — including at the White House. But plenty of S&P 500 companies will make even more than the oil giant.

The bulk of S&P 500 companies this week will report their fourth-quarter and full 2022 results. And five of them, including Apple, Alphabet and Exxon Mobil, will wind up making even more than Chevron's historic haul, says an Investor's Business Daily analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and MarketSmith. In fact, Apple is seen making more than $96 billion in 2022 — or 163% more than Chevron.

Knowing where the S&P 500's profit power is coming from is imperative for investors, especially if a recession is on the way. Follow the money, not the layoff announcements.

"One of the unknowns will soon be answered as (fourth quarter) earnings season presses on. So far, the earnings beat rate has been decent while the guidance situation has been a bit better than feared," said Christine Short of Wall Street Horizon, a research firm.

Putting Chevron In Its Place

It's still early in the S&P 500's fourth-quarter and 2022 earnings season. Just 137 of the S&P 500, or a little more than a quarter, have reported their results.

And among those companies that actually reported, Chevron is a standout so far. Its adjusted net income of $36.5 billion, or $18.83 a share, is the second-largest annual profit that's actually on the books. It's only second to Microsoft, which reported a $67.4 billion adjusted profit in 2022, or $9 a share. And Chevron's profit outstripped the $35.9 billion profit of JPMorgan Chase last year.

But don't think you've seen peak S&P 500 profit. Most of the giants are still due to share their results.

The Big Dog For 2022 Profit By Far: Apple

If you want to see mind boggling profit, just wait until Feb. 2. That's when gadget maker Apple is due to report its calendar 2022 results. And they're going to be supersize.

Analysts currently think Apple will make a 2022 profit of $96 billion. That would easily make it the most profitable company in the S&P 500 again in 2022, topping Microsoft's bottom line by 42%.

And with a profit base like that, Apple is by far the largest buyer of its own stock. In the past 12 months ended September (the latest data available), Apple bought back $95.6 billion of its own stock, says S&P Dow Jones Indices. That's way more than any other S&P 500 company bought its own stock, including No. 2 Alphabet at $57.4 billion. It's also more than the $75 billion of stock Chevron says it's buying back.

Even so, S&P 500 investors are disappointed with Apple's profits. On a per share basis, its 2022 calendar profit is seen falling roughly 1% from 2021. That's why the shares are off 8% in a year's time. With that said, Apple's profit is seen jumping another 6% in 2023.

Giving Chevron A Run For Its Money

Chevron is getting much of the attention as it's the first giant energy firm in the S&P 500 to report. But it's about to be overshadowed by Exxon Mobil.

Exxon Mobil is seen reporting its quarterly and 2022 profit on Jan. 31. And when it does, analysts think the energy giant will report an even higher 2022 profit than Chevron: $56.8 billion or $13.89 a share. If that's right, it's up 158% from the same period a year ago. And it's also 60% more than Chevron.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil is already aggressively buying back it own stock. It bought $10.6 billion of its own stock in the 12 months ended in September 2022. In many ways, Chevron which only bought back $5.4 billion in that time, is playing catch up now.

Another massive profit report lands on Feb. 2. That's when Google parent Alphabet is expected to post a 2022 profit of $62.5 billion or $4.75 a share. That profit would make Alphabet the No. 3 most profitable company in the S&P 500, even though its shares are down 23% this year as growth cools.

So while Chevron had a good year, no doubt, it's still not the biggest profit engine in the S&P 500.

S&P 500 Profit Champions In 2022

Largest full-year profit expected this year

Company Ticker 2022 net profit ($ billions)* Sector
Apple $96.0 Information Technology
Microsoft 67.4 Information Technology
Alphabet 62.5 Communication Services
Exxon Mobil 58.6 Energy
Pfizer 37.0 Health Care
Chevron 36.5 Energy
JPMorgan Chase 35.9 Financials
Berkshire Hathaway 33.4 Financials
Johnson & Johnson 27.0 Health Care
Bank of America 26.0 Financials
Sources: IBD, S&P Global Market Intelligence, * (estimates used when companies haven't reported yet)

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz

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