Marathon Oil Co. (NYSE:MRO) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 18,679,076 shares, a growth of 39.0% from the February 15th total of 13,436,295 shares. Approximately 2.3% of the shares of the stock are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 11,976,565 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 1.6 days.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on MRO shares. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $23.00 price target on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, December 7th. Citigroup raised shares of Marathon Oil from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, December 21st. TheStreet downgraded shares of Marathon Oil from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Thursday, December 13th. Barclays set a $23.00 price target on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 16th. Finally, Morgan Stanley lowered their price target on shares of Marathon Oil from $25.00 to $20.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, November 20th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and fourteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Marathon Oil has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $23.91.

MRO stock opened at $17.27 on Monday. Marathon Oil has a one year low of $12.57 and a one year high of $24.20. The company has a current ratio of 1.59, a quick ratio of 1.54 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.14 billion, a PE ratio of 24.32, a P/E/G ratio of 4.31 and a beta of 2.26.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The oil and gas producer reported $0.15 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.13 by $0.02. Marathon Oil had a net margin of 16.65% and a return on equity of 4.97%. The firm had revenue of $1.77 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.42 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.07 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 27.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Marathon Oil will post 0.37 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, March 11th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 20th were issued a $0.05 dividend. This represents a $0.20 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.16%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, February 19th. Marathon Oil’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 28.17%.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in MRO. Norges Bank purchased a new position in shares of Marathon Oil in the fourth quarter worth $122,747,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 17.8% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 41,766,089 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $598,926,000 after buying an additional 6,298,905 shares in the last quarter. Bridgeway Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Marathon Oil in the third quarter worth $66,744,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 182.2% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,373,712 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $101,822,000 after buying an additional 2,823,849 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Panagora Asset Management Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Marathon Oil by 50.1% in the third quarter. Panagora Asset Management Inc. now owns 8,272,613 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $192,586,000 after buying an additional 2,759,888 shares in the last quarter. 79.75% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil Corp. engages in the exploration, production, and marketing of liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas. It operates through the following two segments: United States (U. S.) and International. The U. S. segment engages in oil and gas exploration, development and production activities in the U.S.

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