ExxonMobil, the world\'s largest energy company, on Tuesday posted slightly better-than-expected profit for the fourth quarter, despite easing high oil prices. ExxonMobil said net income was $9.4 billion in the final three months of 2011, up a modest 2.0 percent from the year-ago period as refining margins shrank. Earnings of $1.97 per share were one cent higher than analysts expected. On an oil-equivalent basis, production fell 9.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, mainly because of a reduction in natural gas output, the Irving, Texas-based company said in a statement. For all of 2011, net income leaped 34 percent to $41.0 billion, benefiting from higher oil and natural gas prices, the company said in a statement. Revenue numbers also highlighted the slower growth in the fourth quarter: net revenue rose 15 percent to $121.6 billion, above the Wall Street forecast of $119.7 billion. The gain was almost half as much for the full year, when sales surged 27 percent. Investors punished the shares, pushing them down 1.3 percent to $84.40 in pre-market trade. ExxonMobil said it had a record $36.8 billion in capital and exploration expenditures in 2011. \"ExxonMobil recorded strong results while investing at record levels to develop new supplies of energy that are critical to meeting growing world demand, and supporting economic recovery and growth,\" chairman Rex Tillerson said in the statement. The company highlighted that it was the high bidder on 50 blocks in the most recent US Gulf of Mexico lease sale, \"providing new exploration opportunities.\" It also noted that construction of a lower-sulfur fuels project had begun at the joint Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. ExxonMobil said it had distributed $29 billion to shareholders in 2011 through dividends and share purchases.