Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Friday. The brokerage currently has $71.00 price objective on the oil and gas company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Following the comprehensive Q3 beat, we are upgrading our investment thesis on Marathon Petroleum to a 'Buy'. The independent refiner beat expectations on stronger fuel margin. Specifically, refining margin of $14.14 per barrel increased versus $11.32 last quarter and $10.67 a year ago. We also welcome MPC's decision not to spin off its Speedway convenience store business. We believe that the retail assets will help the company generate long-term returns for shareholders due to healthy merchandise margins. As it is, we like its scale advantage, impressive asset quality and extensive midstream/retail network. Importantly, MPC is known for raising dividends since it became a standalone public company in mid-2011. Additionally, it has an active share repurchase program. Consequently, we think MPC offers substantial upside potential from the current price levels.”

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on MPC. Credit Suisse Group reissued a buy rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research report on Friday, July 14th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a buy rating and set a $54.83 target price (down from $65.00) on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research report on Thursday, July 20th. Cowen and Company increased their target price on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. BidaskClub raised shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 1st. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a buy rating and set a $71.00 target price on shares of Marathon Petroleum Corporation in a research report on Thursday, August 31st. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Marathon Petroleum Corporation presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $62.64.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE MPC) traded up $0.06 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $61.72. 3,220,100 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 4,415,190. Marathon Petroleum Corporation has a 1-year low of $42.57 and a 1-year high of $63.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.64, a current ratio of 1.52 and a quick ratio of 0.80. The firm has a market capitalization of $30,144.80, a P/E ratio of 18.76, a PEG ratio of 1.57 and a beta of 1.59.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The oil and gas company reported $1.77 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.48 by $0.29. The firm had revenue of $19.36 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $19.38 billion. Marathon Petroleum Corporation had a net margin of 2.35% and a return on equity of 8.52%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 17.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.58 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Marathon Petroleum Corporation will post 3.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 11th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 16th will be paid a $0.40 dividend. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.59%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, November 15th. Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s payout ratio is presently 49.08%.

In other Marathon Petroleum Corporation news, insider Anthony R. Kenney sold 77,578 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $62.35, for a total transaction of $4,836,988.30. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP C. Michael Palmer sold 11,450 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.02, for a total transaction of $607,079.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.05% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Blue Chip Partners Inc. bought a new position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the second quarter worth about $100,000. Lee Financial Co lifted its stake in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 2.4% during the second quarter. Lee Financial Co now owns 2,048 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $107,000 after purchasing an additional 48 shares during the period. Crow Point Partners LLC bought a new position in Marathon Petroleum Corporation during the third quarter worth about $128,000. Jacobi Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 32.2% during the first quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 2,340 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $116,000 after purchasing an additional 570 shares during the period. Finally, First Interstate Bank lifted its stake in Marathon Petroleum Corporation by 81.1% during the second quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 2,376 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock worth $124,000 after purchasing an additional 1,064 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 81.02% of the company’s stock.

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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