It’s time to buy Marathon Petroleum , according to Goldman Sachs. The firm upgraded the energy stock to buy from neutral. Marathon Petroleum was previously its top pick within the refining oil segment from 2018 to 2022, but was “prematurely” downgraded to neutral, Goldman said. Analyst Neil Mehta upgraded the stock again, saying that he still sees momentum for the stock’s return of capital and execution. “In May 2022, we moved to Neutral on the stock largely given valuation. With that said, MPC has continued to surprise GS and Street estimates over the past few quarters across its business segments,” Mehta wrote in a Wednesday note. “We highlight the return of capital for MPC is substantial, where we raise our buyback forecasts. … Ultimately, we believe MPC deserves a premium multiple given these factors,” Mehta said. The analyst raised his price target to $150 from $132, implying 14% upside from Tuesday’s close price. Mehta said that as crack spreads — the difference between the price of crude oil and the price of refined products — is expected to become more volatile, Marathon Petroleum will continue to outperform thanks to its high rates of capital returns and strong operations will outperform. Marathon Petroleum shares were up more than 1% following the upgrade. The stock has gained 13% in 2023 amid a 58.2% jump during the past 12 months. MPC 1D mountain Marathon Petroleum shares —CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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