Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC): 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 Petroleum ( MPC) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Marathon Petroleum rose $2.41 (3%) to $81.43 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4.1 million shares of Marathon Petroleum exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.2 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $79.55-$82.08 after having opened the day at $79.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $79.02. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Entree Gold ( EGI), up 18%, Zion Oil & Gas ( ZN), up 17.9%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 13.3%, and Dawson Geophysical Company ( DWSN), up 11.8%.
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Marathon Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum products primarily in the United States. Marathon Petroleum has a market cap of $26.39 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 23.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Marathon Petroleum a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and two rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marathon Petroleum as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

On the negative front, BMB Munai ( BMBM), down 22.1%, Penford Corporation ( PENX), down 10.9%, GeoGlobal Resources ( GGR), down 10.2%, and Sutor Technology Group ( SUTR), down 8.5%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Molycorp ( MCP) 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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