Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $71.00 price target on the oil and gas company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Following the comprehensive Q3 beat, we are upgrading our investment thesis on Marathon Petroleum to a 'Buy'. The independent refiner beat expectations on stronger fuel margin. Specifically, refining margin of $14.14 per barrel increased versus $11.32 last quarter and $10.67 a year ago. We also welcome MPC's decision not to spin off its Speedway convenience store business. We believe that the retail assets will help the company generate long-term returns for shareholders due to healthy merchandise margins. As it is, we like its scale advantage, impressive asset quality and extensive midstream/retail network. Importantly, MPC is known for raising dividends since it became a standalone public company in mid-2011. Additionally, it has an active share repurchase program. Consequently, we think MPC offers substantial upside potential from the current price levels.”

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Cowen and Company raised their price target on Marathon Petroleum Corporation from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, July 27th. BidaskClub lowered Marathon Petroleum Corporation from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) lowered Marathon Petroleum Corporation from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $63.00 price target for the company. in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $54.83 price target (down previously from $65.00) on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research note on Thursday, July 20th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation lowered Marathon Petroleum Corporation from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, September 5th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $64.00.

Shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE MPC) traded up $0.48 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $62.20. The company had a trading volume of 2,823,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 4,407,922. Marathon Petroleum Corporation has a 12 month low of $42.57 and a 12 month high of $63.41. The stock has a market capitalization of $30,144.80, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.76, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.57 and a beta of 1.59. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.52 and a quick ratio of 0.80.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The oil and gas company reported $1.77 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.48 by $0.29. Marathon Petroleum Corporation had a return on equity of 8.52% and a net margin of 2.35%. The company had revenue of $19.36 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $19.38 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.58 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 17.6% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Marathon Petroleum Corporation will post 3.59 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 11th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, November 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.40 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 15th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.57%. Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s payout ratio is presently 49.08%.

In other news, VP C. Michael Palmer sold 11,450 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.02, for a total transaction of $607,079.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Anthony R. Kenney sold 77,578 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.35, for a total value of $4,836,988.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.05% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of MPC. Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 312.4% during the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 3,947,936 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $206,595,000 after acquiring an additional 2,990,640 shares in the last quarter. Third Point LLC bought a new stake in Marathon Petroleum Corporation in the 3rd quarter worth about $154,220,000. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its holdings in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 93.3% in the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,331,521 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $278,998,000 after buying an additional 2,572,727 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 4.1% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 39,255,717 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $2,054,251,000 after buying an additional 1,544,114 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. increased its holdings in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 61.6% in the 3rd quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,987,706 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $223,630,000 after buying an additional 1,520,471 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.02% of the company’s stock.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation Company Profile

Marathon Petroleum Corporation is engaged in refining, marketing, retail and transportation businesses in the United States and the largest east of the Mississippi. The Company operates through three segments: Refining & Marketing; Speedway; and Midstream. The Refining & Marketing segment refines crude oil and other feedstocks at the Company’s seven refineries in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions of the United States.

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Analyst Recommendations for Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC)

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