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Why Is Marathon Oil (MRO) Down 0.6% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Marathon Oil (MRO - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 0.6% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Marathon Oil due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Marathon Oil Reports Better-Than-Expected Q2 Earnings

Marathon Oil Corporation reported second-quarter 2021 adjusted net income per share of 22 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 18 cents. In the year-ago period, the company had incurred a loss of 60 cents.

Marathon Oil’s bottom line was favorably impacted by stronger liquids realizations and better-than-expected domestic production. Precisely, volumes in the United States came in at 283,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d), beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 272,000 BOE/d.

Marathon Oil reported revenues of $1.1 billion that jumped from the year-ago sales of $272 million but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.4%. This was due to the lower-than-expected international segment production available for sale, which at 65,000 BOE/d fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3,000 BOE/d.

The company stuck to its $1 billion capital spending budget for 2021 and delivered a free cash flow of $420 million during the quarter.

Segmental Performance

This Texas-based energy explorer’s total net production (from U.S. and International units) in the quarter under review came in at 348,000 BOE/d compared with 390,000 BOE/d in the year-ago period.

U.S. E&P: This U.S. upstream unit reported income of $207 million against a loss of $365 million in the year-ago period due to stronger price realizations.

Marathon Oil’s average realized liquids prices (crude oil and condensate) of $64.73 per barrel were significantly above the year-earlier level of $21.65. Natural gas liquids average price realizations soared 240.9% to $24.17 a barrel. Additionally, average realized natural gas prices were up 81.3% year over year to $2.61 per thousand cubic feet.

Meanwhile, production costs were $4.41 per BOE, representing a 7.8% year-over-year rise.

Net production of 283,000 BOE/d decreased from 307,000 BOE/d in second-quarter 2020. The total U.S. output comprised 56% oil or 159,000 barrels per day (bpd), down 12.6% year over year.

The lower year-over-year production, especially from Eagle Ford and Oklahoma dragged down the company’s quarterly performance. Notably, Oklahoma output came in at 54,000 BOE/d, reflecting a 10% fall from the year-ago level. The Eagle Ford region recorded production of 91,000 BOE/d, down 15.7% from the level in second-quarter 2020. On a somewhat positive note, output from Bakken was 107,000 BOE/d compared with 103,000 BOE/d in the year-ago quarter.

International E&P: The segment, which explores and produces oil and gas in Equatorial Guinea, reported earnings of $68 million, turning around from a loss of $6 million in the year-ago period due to improvement in liquids prices.

Marathon Oil reported production available for sale of 65,000 BOE/d, down from 83,000 Boe/d in second-quarter 2020.

Marathon Oil’s average realized liquids prices (crude oil and condensate) of $52.78 per barrel reflected a 282.7% jump from the year-earlier quarter. Natural gas and natural gas liquids’ average price realizations came in at 24 cents per thousand cubic feet and $1 a barrel, respectively – same as the corresponding period of 2020.

Financials

Total costs in the quarter were $1 billion, $63 million higher than the prior-year period. Marathon Oil, which recently raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 5 cents per share, reported an operating cash flow of $655 million in the second quarter compared to a mere $9 million a year ago.

As of Jun 30, it had cash and cash equivalents worth $970 million and long-term debt of 4.9 billion. Debt-to-capitalization ratio of the company was 31.4.

Marathon Oil spent $289 million in capital and exploratory expenditures during the quarter.

2021 Guidance

Marathon Oil has set $1 billion of capital budget for this year, down from $1.2 billion it spent in 2020. The company is targeting production in the range of 335,000 BOE/d to 355,000 BOE/d, up from the previous view of 330,000-350,000 BOE/d. Further, Marathon Oil expects oil volumes in the band of 169,000-175,000 barrels per day. Assuming $60 WTI, Marathon Oil expects to return a minimum of 40% of its cash flow from operations.

 

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month.

VGM Scores

At this time, Marathon Oil has an average Growth Score of C, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Marathon Oil has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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