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BP Reported Better-than-expected Profit

BP kicked off the oil industry's much-anticipated first-quarter

BP, the world's No. 2 oil company, reported 15% lower quarterly profit of $5.6 billion. Excluding charges, the company earned $1.54 a share, topping estimates from Thomson Financial by 2 cents a share.

But while BP and other oil companies Tuesday reported better-than-expected results, the stocks fell following President Bush's OK for the EPA to lower clean-air rules to lure more imports.

Strong crude prices helped push revenue up 23% to $67.1 billion.

BP's production output has been crimped due to issues with its Texas City refinery, which was closed last year to avoid damage from Hurricane Rita, says Robert Kessler, analyst at Simmons. The facility should be fully operational again by the end of the year, he says. Shares sank 94 cents to $74.88.