Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “We like Marathon Petroleum's scale advantage, impressive asset quality and extensive midstream/retail network. The refiner surpassed Q4 expectations on stronger fuel margin, which increased to $13.12 per barrel from $11.31 a year ago. We believe MPC’s decision to drop down assets worth $8.1 billion to its midstream unit MPLX will boost its financials with visible cash flows to fuel buybacks and higher dividends. However, the U.S. refiners are feeling the pinch of higher RIN costs to comply with new cleaner gasoline production rules. We are also concerned of the increasing costs and expenses of the company which may weigh on the earnings. As such we take a cautious stance on the downstream operator.”
MPC has been the subject of several other research reports. ValuEngine raised Marathon Petroleum from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Credit Suisse Group started coverage on Marathon Petroleum in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $83.00 price objective for the company. Barclays reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $90.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum in a report on Friday, February 16th. Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $90.00 price target on shares of Marathon Petroleum in a report on Friday, February 23rd. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $89.00 price target on shares of Marathon Petroleum in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. Seven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $79.08.
Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The oil and gas company reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.00 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $21.24 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $17.27 billion. Marathon Petroleum had a return on equity of 9.90% and a net margin of 4.60%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.43 EPS. research analysts expect that Marathon Petroleum will post 4.91 EPS for the current year.
In other Marathon Petroleum news, VP Rodney P. Nichols sold 6,374 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.93, for a total transaction of $413,863.82. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 74,674 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,848,582.82. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Charles E. Bunch bought 1,500 shares of Marathon Petroleum stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 6th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $67.38 per share, with a total value of $101,070.00. Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 12,853 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $866,035.14. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.05% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Captrust Financial Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $105,000. Truewealth LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $114,000. American Beacon Advisors Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $116,000. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $121,000. Finally, BB&T Investment Services Inc. grew its position in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 118.2% in the third quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. now owns 3,063 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $178,000 after purchasing an additional 1,659 shares in the last quarter. 80.38% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Marathon Petroleum
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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