Despite earning a higher profit than any U.S. corporation in any industry has ever made before ($11.68 billion), shareholders were still expecting more from Exxon Mobil’s quarterly announcement today.

As a result, the stock slipped by 4.9% before the day’s end of trading.

Of course, no one is really that surprised that one of the world’s largest oil companies was the one to record the biggest profit ever. I believe I recall reading something in almost every newspaper and watching on every TV channel a report on how record high gas prices are making candy not taste as good anymore or something, etc.

You can blame pretty much everything on high gas prices nowadays. But the one time you can’t blame them is when an oil company doesn’t reach its profit expectations. Who knew?

It’s all about managing expectations, boys and girls. It’s usually better to beat shitty expectations by a lot than to just flat out kick ass but not live up to all your hype. Just ask any underachiever who turned out to be godsend in your Fantasy Football league. Then compare that to when LT has a crappy week.

But don’t feel too bad for those big oil companies. I’m sure they’ll bounce back. Even with all the exorbitant taxes they do or don’t have to pay, Exxon will be a top earner for a while. After all, you’re not gonna ride a friggin’ bicycle to work anytime soon are you? Neither am I. So settle in for some more record breaking profits in the future.

Forbes: Exxon Gets Drilled, July 31, 2008

AP: Oil Profits Shatter Records, July 31, 2008