Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) and Markwest Energy Partners (NYSE:MWE) are both mid-cap oils/energy companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, valuation, profitability, dividends, earnings, institutional ownership and risk.

Profitability

This table compares Exxon Mobil Corporation and Markwest Energy Partners’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Exxon Mobil Corporation 5.14% 8.21% 4.40%
Markwest Energy Partners 10.37% 2.42% 1.71%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

50.8% of Exxon Mobil Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.1% of Exxon Mobil Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Exxon Mobil Corporation and Markwest Energy Partners’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Exxon Mobil Corporation $226.09 billion 1.56 $7.84 billion $3.07 27.09
Markwest Energy Partners N/A N/A N/A ($0.26) -160.19

Exxon Mobil Corporation has higher revenue and earnings than Markwest Energy Partners. Markwest Energy Partners is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Exxon Mobil Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings for Exxon Mobil Corporation and Markwest Energy Partners, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Exxon Mobil Corporation 5 13 8 1 2.19
Markwest Energy Partners 0 0 0 0 N/A

Exxon Mobil Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $85.89, indicating a potential upside of 3.25%. Given Exxon Mobil Corporation’s higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Exxon Mobil Corporation is more favorable than Markwest Energy Partners.

Dividends

Exxon Mobil Corporation pays an annual dividend of $3.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.7%. Markwest Energy Partners does not pay a dividend. Exxon Mobil Corporation pays out 100.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Exxon Mobil Corporation has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years and Markwest Energy Partners has increased its dividend for 34 consecutive years.

Summary

Exxon Mobil Corporation beats Markwest Energy Partners on 10 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Exxon Mobil Corporation

Exxon Mobil Corporation is engaged in energy business. The Company is engaged in the exploration, production, transportation and sale of crude oil and natural gas, and the manufacture, transportation and sale of petroleum products. The Company also manufactures and markets commodity petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene plastics, and a range of specialty products. The Company’s segments include Upstream, Downstream, Chemical, and Corporate and Financing. The Upstream segment operates to explore for and produce crude oil and natural gas. The Downstream operates to manufacture and sell petroleum products. The Chemical segment operates to manufacture and sell petrochemicals. The Company has exploration and development activities in projects located in the United States, Canada/South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia/Oceania.

About Markwest Energy Partners

MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (MarkWest) is a master limited partnership engaged in the gathering, processing and transportation of natural gas; the gathering, transportation, fractionation, storage and marketing of natural gas liquids (NGLs), and the gathering and transportation of crude oil. The Company operates in four segments: Marcellus, Utica, Northeast and Southwest. The Marcellus segment provides integrated natural gas midstream services in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. The Company’s MarkWest Utica EMG provides gathering, processing, fractionation and marketing services. The Northeast segment assets include the Kenova, Boldman, Cobb, Kermit and Langley natural gas processing complexes, an NGL pipeline and the Siloam fractionation facility. The Company owns a system that consists of natural gas gathering pipelines, centralized compressor stations, two natural gas processing complexes and two NGL pipelines.

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