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Sunoco to Post Loss

PHILADELPHIA -- Sunoco Inc., operator of more than 550 convenience stores, said it would post a first-quarter loss due to weak profit margins for gasoline.

Sunoco, the second company with large U.S. refinery operations to announce a quarterly loss, said its results would include an after-tax operating loss of about $105 million, the company said.

Sunoco cited record low profit margins in both refining and marketing operations, higher crude oil costs, and lower income in its coke business as reasons for the loss. Sunoco said the quarterly production margin in its massive Northeast refinery system was $1.08 per barrel, down dramatically from the $5.61 recorded last year, and down 36 percent from the $1.68 in the fourth quarter.

Gasoline sales profit margins also tumbled to 3 cents per gallon from the 7 cents posted last year and the 9 cents realized in the fourth quarter, the company said. Sunoco said earnings from its chemicals division have improved and are expected to be "modestly profitable" for the quarter, the company said in a statement.
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