Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Marathon Oil’s increased focus on low cost-high margin resource plays including Oklahoma, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Northern Delaware provides for visible production growth over the coming years. The firm expects total output in 2019 to increase 10% from a year ago, targeting 12% growth in the United States. Marathon Oil is committed to strengthening its financials by debt reduction and looks poised for strong free cash flow generation through the end of the decade. However, the company’s high emphasis on strategic acquisitions and balance sheet strengthening at the cost of dividend growth and share buyback programs may dampen investors’ confidence. Further, one also need to factor Marathon Oil’s receding international output which is likely to decline further in the upcoming quarter amid turnaround activities in Equatorial Guinea. As such, the stock warrants a cautious stance. “

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Barclays reduced their price objective on shares of Marathon Oil from $22.00 to $21.00 and set an overweight rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, April 11th. Royal Bank of Canada upgraded shares of Marathon Oil from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $22.00 to $23.00 in a research note on Tuesday, April 16th. MKM Partners set a $22.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 26th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Marathon Oil from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, February 4th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of Marathon Oil from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 26th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fifteen have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $23.27.

Shares of NYSE MRO opened at $18.78 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.45, a P/E/G ratio of 5.41 and a beta of 2.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, a current ratio of 1.59 and a quick ratio of 1.54. Marathon Oil has a 1-year low of $12.57 and a 1-year high of $24.20.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The oil and gas producer reported $0.15 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.13 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $1.77 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.42 billion. Marathon Oil had a net margin of 16.65% and a return on equity of 4.97%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.07 EPS. Sell-side analysts expect that Marathon Oil will post 0.51 earnings per share for the current year.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of MRO. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil in the 4th quarter valued at about $25,000. Executive Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil in the 4th quarter valued at about $27,000. JNBA Financial Advisors bought a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil in the 4th quarter valued at about $29,000. We Are One Seven LLC bought a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil in the 4th quarter valued at about $42,000. Finally, Pinnacle Bank bought a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil in the 4th quarter valued at about $42,000. 81.63% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Marathon Oil Company Profile

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 and International. 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.

Further Reading: What moving averages are used to define a golden cross?

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Marathon Oil (MRO)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO)

Receive News & Ratings for Marathon Oil Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Marathon Oil and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.