Marathon Oil Co. (NYSE:MRO) saw some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors purchased 9,435 call options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 102% compared to the typical volume of 4,674 call options.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on MRO. Royal Bank of Canada set a $20.00 price objective on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. ValuEngine lowered shares of Marathon Oil from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. FBR & Co reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $20.00 price target on shares of Marathon Oil in a report on Tuesday, May 23rd. Scotiabank set a $23.00 price target on shares of Marathon Oil and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 16th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC lowered shares of Marathon Oil from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and lowered their price target for the company from $22.00 to $16.00 in a report on Wednesday, May 17th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fourteen have assigned a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and three have issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $19.34.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of Marathon Oil by 4.7% in the first quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,652,037 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $57,689,000 after buying an additional 164,096 shares during the last quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Marathon Oil by 11.0% in the third quarter. ETRADE Capital Management LLC now owns 148,808 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $2,353,000 after buying an additional 14,765 shares during the last quarter. Frontier Wealth Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil during the fourth quarter worth $192,000. Russell Investments Group Ltd. acquired a new stake in shares of Marathon Oil during the fourth quarter worth $1,963,000. Finally, Gardner Lewis Asset Management L P raised its stake in shares of Marathon Oil by 4.2% in the fourth quarter. Gardner Lewis Asset Management L P now owns 73,035 shares of the oil and gas producer’s stock worth $1,264,000 after buying an additional 2,950 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.96% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Marathon Oil (NYSE MRO) opened at 12.54 on Friday. The stock’s market capitalization is $10.66 billion. Marathon Oil has a 12 month low of $12.04 and a 12 month high of $19.28. The company’s 50-day moving average is $14.09 and its 200 day moving average is $16.05.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 4th. The oil and gas producer reported ($0.07) EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.08) by $0.01. Marathon Oil had a negative net margin of 32.98% and a negative return on equity of 4.91%. The business had revenue of $1.07 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.29 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.43) earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 88.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Marathon Oil will post ($0.21) earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 12th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, May 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.05 per share. The ex-dividend date is Monday, May 15th. This represents a $0.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.59%. Marathon Oil’s payout ratio is -9.26%.

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About Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil Corporation is an exploration and production (E&P) company. The Company operates through three segments: North America E&P, International E&P and Oil Sands Mining. The North America E&P segment explores for, produces and markets crude oil and condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and natural gas in North America.

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