Marathon Oil Corp (MRO): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Marathon Oil ( MRO) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Marathon Oil rose 56 cents (1.9%) to $30.51 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6.5 million shares of Marathon Oil exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $29.23-$30.60 after having opened the day at $29.35 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.95. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Atlatsa Resources ( ATL), up 19.4%, Equal Energy ( EQU), up 15.8%, Recon Technology ( RCON), up 11.9%, and Entree Gold ( EGI), up 11.2%.
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Marathon Oil Corporation operates as an energy company worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Exploration and Production, Oil Sands Mining, and Integrated Gas. Marathon Oil has a market cap of $21.41 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Marathon Oil a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marathon Oil as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, HKN ( HKN), down 21.3%, Cereplast ( CERP), down 11.8%, Torch Energy Royalty ( TRU), down 11.1%, and Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 10.6%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Ensco ( ESV) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the basic materials sector could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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