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 $1.76 (2.3%) to $78.75 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,089,733 shares of Marathon Petroleum exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,707,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $76.78-$78.77 after having opened the day at $77.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $76.99. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources ( SHZ), up 17.6%, Rentech ( RTK), up 11.8%, Celanese Corporation ( CE), up 11.5% and Rentech Nitrogen Partners ( RNF), up 11.5%.
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Marathon Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum products primarily in the United States. It operates through Refining & Marketing, Speedway, and Pipeline Transportation segments. Marathon Petroleum has a market cap of $25.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

On the negative front, GeoGlobal Resources ( GGR), down 25.1%, GeoPetro Resources Company ( GPR), down 12.5%, Harry Winston Diamond ( HWD), down 10.7% and Pure Bioscience ( PURE), down 10.3% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with EOG Resources ( EOG) 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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