Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

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 down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Marathon Petroleum rose $1.73 (2.4%) to $73.24 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4,404,147 shares of Marathon Petroleum exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,320,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $70.20-$74.20 after having opened the day at $70.42 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $71.51. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), up 36.4%, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), up 20.4%, InterOil Corporation ( IOC), up 10.1% and USEC ( USU), up 9.7%.

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 $22.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Marathon Petroleum a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marathon Petroleum as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Sibanye Gold Ltd ADR ( SBGL), down 42.9%, Ceres ( CERE), down 28.0%, Asanko Gold ( AKG), down 25.6% and Gold Resource ( GORO), down 15.0% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with ArcelorMittal ( MT) 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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