Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Over the past one month, shares of Marathon Petroleum have declined and underperformed the broader industry. High operating and direct expenses associated with the heavy turnaround schedule have affected the refining margins of the company adversely. Glut of product inventories has translated to lower profitability in the refining sector. Further, we remain worried of the stiff regulations and cut-throat competition in the industry. We also need to factor the low return on equity of the downstream operator when compared to its peers. Moreover, it has become tougher for the U.S. refiners who are feeling the pinch of higher RFS costs to comply with new cleaner gasoline production rules. Soaring costs arising from RIN obligations is likely to impact the financials of the company negatively.  These factors form the basis of our bearish stance on MPC.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Citigroup Inc. reissued a buy rating and set a $67.00 target price (down from $68.50) on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a report on Saturday, April 22nd. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $69.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a report on Thursday, June 1st. Scotiabank reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $54.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a report on Friday, April 28th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $61.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reaffirmed an overweight rating and issued a $62.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a report on Thursday, May 25th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $58.62.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) opened at 54.98 on Thursday. Marathon Petroleum Corporation has a 1-year low of $37.63 and a 1-year high of $56.64. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $53.78 and a 200-day moving average of $51.24. The firm has a market capitalization of $27.82 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.65 and a beta of 1.56.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The oil and gas company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.04 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $18.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $19.98 billion. Marathon Petroleum Corporation had a return on equity of 5.49% and a net margin of 1.34%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Marathon Petroleum Corporation will post $2.79 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 11th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, August 16th will be paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. This is a boost from Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.36. The ex-dividend date is Monday, August 14th. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.91%. Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 81.82%.

In other Marathon Petroleum Corporation news, insider Thomas M. Kelley sold 25,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.33, for a total transaction of $1,358,250.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP C. Michael Palmer sold 4,568 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.04, for a total transaction of $237,718.72. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 62,325 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,243,393. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 33,568 shares of company stock worth $1,808,969. 1.05% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MPC. Wealthfront Inc. boosted its position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 7.1% in the fourth quarter. Wealthfront Inc. now owns 12,271 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $618,000 after buying an additional 812 shares during the last quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 38.7% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 1,203,514 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock valued at $60,597,000 after buying an additional 335,580 shares during the period. Kentucky Retirement Systems acquired a new position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at $1,928,000. Kentucky Retirement Systems Insurance Trust Fund acquired a new position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at $860,000. Finally, Searle & CO. acquired a new position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the fourth quarter valued at $264,000. 79.66% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Marathon Petroleum Corporation

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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Analyst Recommendations for Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC)

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