NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Hess Corp. (HES) are up 1.91% to $91.01 in pre-market trade after the integrated energy company announced that it agreed to sell its retail business to Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MRO) for $2.6 billion.
Hess Retail is the largest chain of company operated gas stations and convenience stores along the east coast with 1,342 locations.
Proceeds from the sale will be used for additional share repurchases and the company has increased its existing share repurchase authorization from $4 billion to $6.5 billion.
"We rate HESS CORP (HES) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."