Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

ExxonMobil and Chevron both reported steep declines in Q3 earnings this morning, becoming the latest oil giants hit by lower prices.

Why it matters: Exxon is the largest U.S.-based multinational oil-and-gas company, and its financial performance has struggled in recent years.

Where it stands: Exxon reported $3.17 billion in Q3 profits, down from $6.24 billion in the same period in 2018.

  • The company's earnings of 75 cents per share announced Friday beat forecasts and its stock ticked up slightly in pre-market trading.

The big picture: The company's report said its production rose 3% to 3.9 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day compared to Q3 of 2018.

  • However, that was nowhere near enough to offset lower prices, weaker margins in its refining business, and higher capital spending.

Turning to Chevron, the company reported $2.58 billion in Q3 profits, down from $4.05 billion during the same period last year.

  • “Lower crude oil and natural gas prices more than offset a 3 percent increase in net oil-equivalent production from last year's third quarter," CEO Michael Wirth said in a statement.

The bottom line: Via Bloomberg, "Oil producers are bracing for a tough 2020 amid signs that worldwide crude output will swamp demand, despite the best efforts of OPEC and allied producers to control supplies."

  • "Meanwhile, a raging trade war between the world’s two largest economies is undercutting demand for petroleum-based fuels and chemicals."

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.