Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified Marathon Petroleum ( MPC) as an unusual social activity candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified Marathon Petroleum as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • MPC has 11x the normal benchmarked social activity for this time of the day compared to its average of 2.97 mentions/day.
  • MPC has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $235.9 million.

Identifying stocks with 'Unusual Social Activity' tends to be a valuable process for traders looking to capitalize on the 'talk of the town' stocks that are basking in far more attention from the StockTwits financial community than normal. Good press? Bad press? It ultimately doesn't matter if it's good or bad if you know how to trade around the sentiment. Certain hedge funds use such data for their proprietary algorithms and it is not uncommon to see shared social sentiment play itself out in a stock's price trend.

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More details on MPC:

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum products primarily in the United States. It operates through three segments: Refining & Marketing, Speedway, and Pipeline Transportation. The stock currently has a dividend yield of 1.9%. MPC has a PE ratio of 17.3. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Marathon Petroleum a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Marathon Petroleum has been 3.0 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Marathon has a market cap of $25.9 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. The stock has a beta of 2.49 and a short float of 1.7% with 1.48 days to cover. Shares are down 5.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreetRatings.com Analysis:

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Marathon Petroleum as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that MPC's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.70, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP reported lower earnings of $6.61 versus $9.91 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.46 versus $6.61).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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