WILLISTON, N.D., May 6 (Reuters) - Continental Resources Inc., the second-largest oil producer in North Dakota, posted a quarterly loss that was less than Wall Street had expected on Wednesday as cost cuts helped offset low oil prices.
Continental, which does not hedge oil production, said it believes that oil prices will rise later this year.
Executives stopped short of boosting production expectations, however, though they said they expect to be cash-flow neutral, or spend as much as they make, by the middle of the year.
"We remain encouraged by the outlook for the second half of the year and for 2016," Chief Executive Harold Hamm said in a statement.
The company reported a net loss of $186 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with net income of $359.1 million, or 61 cents per share, in the year-before quarter.
Factoring in a writedown of assets and one-time items, the company lost 9 cents per share. By that measure, analysts had expected a loss of 12 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Daily average oil production rose 36 percent to 206,829 barrels of oil, with the biggest jump in the company's North Dakota unit.
Shares of Oklahoma City-based Continental rose 0.8 percent to $48.79 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Marguerita Choy; and Peter Galloway)
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