Standard Oil Co. of California, the last major U.S. oil company to report its first-quarter results, said yesterday that they rose 6.2 percent.
Most of the oil industry's first-quarter earnings have been down sharply from the record gains posted in the opening quarter last year when gasoline prices were escalating rapidly and demand for petroleum products remained strong.
Analysts had predicted most large refiners would show declines ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent below 1980 first-quarter results because of sagging oil demand and the industry's inability to recover higher costs for crude oil in a period of price-induced conservation.
In the latest quarter Social, the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, earned $666 million ($1.95 a share), up from $627 million ($1.83) a year earlier. Revenues were up 15 percent to 412 billion from $10.4 billion.
Socal said its domestic petroleum earnings climbed 13 percent to $246 million "primarily because of higher crude oil and natural gas prices." The majority of refiners recorded steep drops in U.S. refining and marketing profits on the heels of reduced domestic oil consumption.
The company said earnings from domestic refining and marketing operations "declined sharply and were essentially break-even" for the quarter.
Refinery runs were down 5 percent, and sales were off 7 percent.
"Product prices were insufficient to recover the higher cost of domestic and foreign crude oil and to offset the impact of inflation and operating costs," the statement said.
Eastman Kodak Co.'s first quarter earnings rose to $249.1 million ($1.54 a share) fromn $193 million ($1.20) a year ago as sales climbed to $2.31 billion from $2.14 billion.
Chairman Walter A. Fallon said the 29 percent rise in profit resulted in part from the absence of the huge rises in the cost of silver and other raw materials that took place in the 1980 first quarter. On the other hand, this year's slim sales gain reflects the absence of the heavy orders placed a year ago in anticipation of higher prices.
Citing strong performances by its computer, aerospace and defense businesses, Sperry Corp. said yesterday that its sales and profits for both the final quarter and entire fiscal year ended March 31 rose to record highs.
The company said earnings for fiscal 1981 increased 13 percent to $313 million ($7.68) from $277.1 million ($7.60) in fiscal 1980. Revenues were up 13.4 percent to $5.427 billion from $4.785 billion a year earlier, Sperry said.
Income for the fourth quarter rose 6.2 percent to $92.9 million ($2.26) from $87.5 million ($2.32) in the 1980 period.
Sperry said the per-share amounts reflect an increase from conversion of debentures of about 3.5 million in the number of Sperry common shares.
Sales for the latest quarter rose 11.6 percent to $1.546 billion from $1.385 billion a year earlier, Sperry said.