Stock traders buy large volume of call options on Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC)

Marathon Petroleum Co. (NYSE:MPC – Get Rating) was the recipient of unusually heavy options trading activity on Thursday. Investors bought 37,121 call options on the company. This is a 197% increase from the average volume of 12,519 call options.

Changes to analyst ratings

A number of research analysts have commented on MPC’s actions. StockNews.com upgraded shares of Marathon Petroleum from a “buy” rating to a “strong buy” rating in a Wednesday, Aug. 3 research report. BMO Capital Markets assumed coverage for Marathon Petroleum shares in a Monday, June 13 research report. They set an “outperform” rating and a price target of $135.00 on the stock. Credit Suisse Group raised its price target on Marathon Petroleum to $130.00 in a Thursday, June 9 research note. Royal Bank of Canada raised its price target on Marathon Petroleum from $110.00 to $121.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a Wednesday, August 3 research note. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its price target on Marathon Petroleum from $95.00 to $109.00 in a Tuesday, May 17 research note. Two analysts gave the stock a hold rating, eight gave the stock a buy rating and two gave the stock a strong buy rating. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $115.50.

Marathon Oil Price Performance

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NYSE:MPC shares traded at $1.99 in Thursday’s midday session, hitting $100.61. 170,500 shares of the company were traded, against an average volume of 4,288,047. The company has a current ratio of 1.49, a quick ratio of 1.10 and a debt ratio of 0.79. The company’s fifty-day moving average is $89.95 and its two-hundred-day moving average is $87.51. Marathon Petroleum has a one-year low of $53.47 and a one-year high of $114.35. The stock has a market capitalization of $50.17 billion, a PE ratio of 6.66, a growth price-earnings ratio of 0.20 and a beta of 1.76.

Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC – Get Rating) last announced its results on Tuesday, August 2. The oil and gas company reported earnings per share of $10.61 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $4.98 by $5.63. The company posted revenue of $54.33 billion for the quarter, versus a consensus estimate of $44.26 billion. Marathon Petroleum had a net margin of 5.09% and a return on equity of 23.85%. The company’s revenue for the quarter increased 82.1% year over year. In the same quarter a year earlier, the company posted earnings per share of $0.67. As a group, analysts predict Marathon Petroleum will post 20.72 earnings per share for the current year.

Marathon Petroleum Announces Dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, September 12. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 17 will receive a dividend of $0.58. This represents a dividend of $2.32 on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.31%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, August 16. Marathon Petroleum’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 15.68%.

Insider Trading at Marathon Petroleum

In related news, Vice Chairman Raymond L. Brooks sold 133,857 shares of the company in a trade that took place on Monday, May 23. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.82, for a total value of $12,960,034.74. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 63,248 shares of the company, valued at $6,123,671.36. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed on the SEC’s website. Insiders own 0.28% of the shares of the company.

Marathon Petroleum Institutional Trading

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of MPC. State Street Corp increased its stake in Marathon Petroleum by 0.9% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 41,765,374 shares of the oil and gas company worth $3,570,939,000 after acquiring 371,647 additional shares last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its stake in Marathon Petroleum by 21.9% in the first quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 12,481,878 shares of the oil and gas company worth $1,067,202,000 after buying 2,244,421 additional shares in the last quarter. Invesco Ltd. increased its stake in Marathon Petroleum by 39.0% in the 1st quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 6,695,296 shares of the oil and gas company worth $572,449,000 after purchasing an additional 1,878,976 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in Marathon Petroleum during the 4th quarter at a value of $411,853,000. Finally, Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in Marathon Petroleum by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. now owns 3,870,128 shares of the oil and gas company worth $247,650,000 after buying 21,024 more shares in the last quarter. 80.91% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Marathon Petroleum

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Marathon Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated downstream energy company primarily in the United States. It operates in two segments, Refining & Marketing and Midstream. The Refining and Marketing segment refines crude oil and other raw materials at its refineries in the Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent and West Coast regions of the United States; and buys refined products and ethanol for resale.

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