Independent oil exploration and production company Marathon Oil (MRO) is another name that increased its dividend payouts to shareholders at the end of last week. Marathon announced a 13.33% increase to its quarterly payout on Friday, bringing it to 17 cents per share. That's a 2.17% payout at current price levels.
With a market capitalization of $22 billion, Marathon pales in comparison to integrated supermajors, but it's not competing with behemoth firms for a share of the market. But while scale isn't a determining factor in the S&P business, cost is -- and Marathon's costs are middle of the road at best. Where the firm has the most upside is in its shale portfolio, which still has room for unproven reserves to beat analysts' expectations.Another big upside catalyst could come from natural gas prices, which have been under pressure for a while now. If MRO can reap more cash for the natural gas that comes out with the firm's oil, investors would be able to expect considerable margin expansion. In the mean time, depressed prices aren't hurting this stock's valuation. While MRO's independent energy exposure is attractive, there are higher-yield alternatives for exposure to this sector right now.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV