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ConocoPhillips Increased Profit by 7 pct

ConocoPhillips said yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 7.7 percent

ConocoPhillips said yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 7.7 percent as income from asset sales helped offset lower commodity prices and higher operating costs.

Net income rose to $3.55 billion, or $2.12 a share, for the January-to-March period, from $3.29 billion, or $2.34 a share, a year ago.

ConocoPhillips, which is based in Houston, said its profit included a one-time net benefit of 29 cents a share from the sale of assets.

Revenue fell to $41.3 billion, from $46.9 billion a year ago.

Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting ConocoPhillips to earn $1.86 a share on revenue of $55 billion. The earnings results fell 3 cents short of the analysts’ forecast because it typically does not include one-time gains or expenses.

Shares rose $1.18, to $70.82.

In a conference call, the company’s chairman and chief executive, James J. Mulva, said the company would buy back $1 billion worth of its stock this quarter, and could increase the size of its quarterly buybacks later in the year. The company repurchased $1 billion in shares in the first quarter.