NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Marathon Oil (MRO) - Get Report announced today that it will lower its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share from 21 cents per share, as oil prices sustain their slump below $50 a barrel. 

The revised dividend should increase annual free cash flow by upwards of $425 million.

Additionally, the Houston-based energy company will decrease its 2015 capital spending by $200 million to $3.1 billion.

Marathon Oil expects 2016 spending to total as much $2.2 billion, a 29% decrease year over year, an amount that would enable the company to maintain flat oil and gas output, Reuters reports.

Marathon Oil will release 2015 third quarter earnings results on Wednesday, November 4 and noted the lowered dividend does not reflect its quarterly financial performance. 

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"We believe the revised dividend appropriately addresses the uncertainty of a lower for longer commodity price environment," CEO Lee Tillman said in a statement.

Shares of the company are higher by 1.13% to $17.88 in midday trading on Thursday.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MARATHON OIL CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MARATHON OIL CORP (MRO) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 171.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $540.00 million to -$386.00 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MARATHON OIL CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $408.00 million or 62.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 45.70%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 207.54% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • MARATHON OIL CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARATHON OIL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.41 versus $1.32 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 199.3% in earnings (-$1.40 versus $1.41).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MRO