Marathon Petroleum (MPC) Downgraded to Strong Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “With the misfiring first quarter earnings report likely to dampen investor confidence, the investment thesis on Marathon Petroleum has been downgraded to a Strong Sell. The company not only missed both EPS and sales expectations, it was a quarter that saw the refiner swing to a loss on declining discounts for medium and heavy sour crude grades. This cut into overall gains from throughput and refining margin growth as well as contribution from the much-anticipated merger with Andeavor. Marathon Petroleum is also experiencing an upswing in product cost that is reflected in higher total expenses. Meanwhile, weak gasoline margins continue to plague the company. Given these headwinds, Marathon Petroleum, whose shares have lost 34.5% over the past year, appears to be a risky bet that ordinary investors should exit.”

MPC has been the topic of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Co decreased their price target on shares of Marathon Petroleum from $96.00 to $90.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, May 9th. Morgan Stanley decreased their price target on shares of Marathon Petroleum from $85.00 to $82.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Monday, April 15th. Raymond James decreased their price target on shares of Marathon Petroleum from $85.00 to $80.00 and set a strong-buy rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, May 9th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Marathon Petroleum from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, March 5th. Finally, Cowen reaffirmed an outperform rating and set a $90.00 price target (down from $101.00) on shares of Marathon Petroleum in a report on Monday, May 6th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $85.68.

Shares of NYSE:MPC opened at $51.95 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $34.42 billion, a PE ratio of 7.66, a PEG ratio of 1.31 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a quick ratio of 0.55, a current ratio of 1.20 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69. Marathon Petroleum has a 12 month low of $50.19 and a 12 month high of $88.45.

Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, May 8th. The oil and gas company reported ($0.09) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.01 by ($0.10). The firm had revenue of $28.62 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $27.70 billion. Marathon Petroleum had a net margin of 2.56% and a return on equity of 11.10%. Marathon Petroleum’s quarterly revenue was up 50.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.08 earnings per share. As a group, research analysts expect that Marathon Petroleum will post 4.77 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 10th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, May 16th will be issued a dividend of $0.53 per share. This represents a $2.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.08%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, May 15th. Marathon Petroleum’s payout ratio is 31.27%.

In other Marathon Petroleum news, insider Donald C. Templin bought 5,000 shares of Marathon Petroleum stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 15th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $50.74 per share, with a total value of $253,700.00. Following the acquisition, the insider now directly owns 93,182 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,728,054.68. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Gary R. Heminger sold 187,142 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total transaction of $12,164,230.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 434,166 shares in the company, valued at $28,220,790. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.06% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MPC. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware boosted its stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 2.4% in the 4th quarter. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware now owns 6,595 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $389,000 after purchasing an additional 157 shares during the last quarter. Alpha Cubed Investments LLC boosted its stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 1.7% in the 4th quarter. Alpha Cubed Investments LLC now owns 9,810 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $579,000 after purchasing an additional 162 shares during the last quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 5.5% in the 4th quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 3,174 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $187,000 after purchasing an additional 165 shares during the last quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC boosted its stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 7.7% in the 1st quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC now owns 2,353 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $140,000 after purchasing an additional 168 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Accurate Investment Solutions Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Marathon Petroleum by 4.1% in the 1st quarter. Accurate Investment Solutions Inc. now owns 4,370 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $262,000 after purchasing an additional 173 shares during the last quarter. 77.93% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Marathon Petroleum Company Profile

Marathon Petroleum Corp. is an independent petroleum product refiners, marketers and transporters in the United States. The company operates through the following segments: Refining & Marketing; Retail; and Midstream. The Refining & Marketing segment refines crude oil and other feedstocks at its refineries in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions of the United States, purchases ethanol and refined products for resale and distributes refined products through various means, including barges, terminals and trucks that the company owns or operates.

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