Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Monday. The firm presently has a $21.00 price objective on the oil and gas producer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 15.13% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Marathon Oil is a leading energy firm with a large and geographically-diverse reserve base and solid project pipeline. Shares of Marathon Oil have rallied over 62% in the last six months, outperforming the broader industry's gain of 30%. The company has successfully positioned itself into the Delaware Basin and STACK/SCOOP resource plays while exiting the oil sands and conventional assets with limited upside. Driven by the robust performance in the last quarter, MRO raised its production guidance for 2017 to 350,000-360,000 BOE/d. Additionally, the company possesses a healthy balance sheet, which helps it to capitalize on investment opportunities. Marathon Oil displays a strong earnings surprise history on robust growth momentum and strong execution. The company is also witnessing surging earning estimates revisions lately. All these factors form the basis of our bullish stance on the prospects of the stock.”

MRO has been the topic of a number of other reports. Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on shares of Marathon Oil from $14.00 to $16.50 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Morgan Stanley set a $15.00 price target on Marathon Oil and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. BMO Capital Markets set a $17.00 price target on Marathon Oil and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. Scotiabank set a $19.00 target price on Marathon Oil and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. Finally, Societe Generale raised Marathon Oil from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and fourteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Marathon Oil presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $17.08.

Shares of Marathon Oil (MRO) traded down $0.58 on Monday, hitting $18.24. 13,866,200 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 10,931,271. Marathon Oil has a 52 week low of $10.55 and a 52 week high of $18.96. The firm has a market capitalization of $15,520.00, a P/E ratio of -7.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 32.75 and a beta of 2.38. The company has a current ratio of 2.09, a quick ratio of 2.02 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.55.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, November 1st. The oil and gas producer reported ($0.08) earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.14) by $0.06. Marathon Oil had a negative net margin of 148.07% and a negative return on equity of 3.02%. The business had revenue of $1.25 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.04 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned ($0.23) earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 26.5% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that Marathon Oil will post -0.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Sentry Investment Management LLC lifted its holdings in Marathon Oil by 1.1% in the 2nd quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 66,441 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $787,000 after purchasing an additional 702 shares during the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 2.7% during the second quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 45,027 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $534,000 after buying an additional 1,188 shares during the last quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 4.5% during the second quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 33,154 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $396,000 after buying an additional 1,434 shares during the last quarter. Glenview Trust Co lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 13.5% during the second quarter. Glenview Trust Co now owns 13,044 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $155,000 after buying an additional 1,550 shares during the last quarter. Finally, 1st Global Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 3.3% during the second quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. now owns 52,744 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $625,000 after buying an additional 1,686 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 80.50% of the company’s stock.

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About Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil Corporation is an exploration and production (E&P) company. The Company operates through three segments: North America E&P, International E&P and Oil Sands Mining. The North America E&P segment explores for, produces and markets crude oil and condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and natural gas in North America.

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