Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $63.00 price objective on the oil and gas company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Following Marathon Petroleum’s decision not to spin off its Speedway convenience store business, we are taking a bullish stance on the company. We believe that the retail assets will help the leading refiner and marketer of petroleum products in the U.S. generate long-term returns for shareholders due to healthy merchandise margins. As it is, we are a fan of MPC’s scale advantage, impressive asset quality, and an extensive midstream/retail network that diversifies its portfolio and provides more stable revenue streams. MPC's financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet are real assets in this highly unstable economy. Importantly, Marathon Petroleum 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 upside potential from current levels and label it as an attractive investment.”

MPC has been the subject of a number of other reports. Scotiabank reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research note on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub raised shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Saturday, August 26th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $64.00 target price (down from $65.00) on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research note on Wednesday, September 6th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research note on Friday, July 14th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada restated a buy rating and set a $71.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research note on Thursday, August 31st. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Marathon Petroleum Corporation currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $60.63.

Shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) opened at 57.10 on Monday. Marathon Petroleum Corporation has a one year low of $40.01 and a one year high of $57.14. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $54.86 and its 200 day moving average price is $53.01. The stock has a market capitalization of $28.91 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.05 and a beta of 1.56.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The oil and gas company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.04 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $18.35 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $19.98 billion. Marathon Petroleum Corporation had a return on equity of 5.52% and a net margin of 1.34%. Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Marathon Petroleum Corporation will post $3.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, VP C. Michael Palmer sold 11,450 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.02, for a total value of $607,079.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.05% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 2,779.4% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 56,121,367 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $2,836,372,000 after purchasing an additional 54,172,304 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of 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 valued at $2,054,251,000 after purchasing an additional 1,544,114 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its holdings in shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 0.4% in the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 28,029,983 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $1,416,636,000 after purchasing an additional 107,894 shares during the period. Kensico Capital Management Corp raised its holdings in shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 7.7% in the 1st quarter. Kensico Capital Management Corp now owns 9,260,000 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $468,000,000 after purchasing an additional 660,000 shares during the period. Finally, Iridian Asset Management LLC CT raised its holdings in shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 8.0% in the 2nd quarter. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT now owns 8,327,167 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $435,761,000 after purchasing an additional 619,548 shares during the period. 78.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Marathon Petroleum Corporation

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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