Marathon Oil (MRO) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. The firm currently has a $24.00 price objective on the oil and gas producer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 12.83% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Taking advantage of the surge in crude prices, Marathon Oil came out with strong first-quarter numbers. The company also benefited from higher production, mainly due to impressive contribution from U.S. resource plays including Oklahoma, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Northern Delaware. Driven by the robust performance in the recent quarter, Marathon Oil raised its 2018 production growth guidance for these shale plays to 25-30%, up from the prior projection of 20-25%. The company is committed to strengthening its financials by debt reduction and looks poised for strong free cash flow generation through the end of the decade. As such, we take a bullish stance on the stock.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Tudor Pickering raised shares of Marathon Oil from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, June 8th. ValuEngine raised shares of Marathon Oil from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, March 22nd. UBS Group began coverage on shares of Marathon Oil in a research report on Wednesday, March 7th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $16.00 price target for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Marathon Oil from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $20.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, March 26th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus set a $18.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 23rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating, thirteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Marathon Oil has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $19.28.

Shares of Marathon Oil traded up $0.61, reaching $21.27, during trading hours on Wednesday, MarketBeat Ratings reports. 8,530,142 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 12,856,165. The stock has a market cap of $17.63 billion, a PE ratio of -55.97, a P/E/G ratio of 1.53 and a beta of 2.36. The company has a current ratio of 1.52, a quick ratio of 1.46 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46. Marathon Oil has a 12-month low of $10.55 and a 12-month high of $22.12.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 2nd. The oil and gas producer reported $0.18 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.14 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.36 billion. Marathon Oil had a negative net margin of 7.56% and a negative return on equity of 0.50%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 61.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned ($0.07) EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that Marathon Oil will post 0.89 EPS for the current year.

In other Marathon Oil news, insider Lee M. Tillman sold 400,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.65, for a total value of $8,660,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 0.50% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. California State Teachers Retirement System boosted its position in Marathon Oil by 0.8% during the 4th quarter. California State Teachers Retirement System now owns 1,506,305 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $25,502,000 after acquiring an additional 12,600 shares during the period. Norinchukin Bank The boosted its position in Marathon Oil by 14.6% during the 1st quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 77,856 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $1,256,000 after acquiring an additional 9,923 shares during the period. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC boosted its position in Marathon Oil by 6.4% during the 4th quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 2,703,803 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $45,775,000 after acquiring an additional 161,462 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 49.9% during the 4th quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 32,910 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $557,000 after buying an additional 10,950 shares during the last quarter. Finally, LPL Financial LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 13.4% during the 4th quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 85,711 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock valued at $1,451,000 after buying an additional 10,141 shares during the last quarter. 78.64% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil Corporation operates as an energy company in the United States, Equatorial Guinea, the United Kingdom, and Libya. It operates in two segments, United States E&P and International E&P. The company engages in the exploration, production, and marketing of crude oil and condensate, natural gas liquids, and natural gas; and the production and marketing of products manufactured from natural gas, such as liquefied natural gas and methanol.

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