Why Marathon Oil Corporation Shares Could Pop 20%

Does this analyst make a good case? Or is it just more noise from Wall Street?

Jun 10, 2014 at 4:44PM

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) gained about 1% today after Deutsche Bank upgraded the energy company with a buy rating.

So what: Along with the bullish call, analyst Ryan Todd planted a price target of $46 on the stock, representing about 22% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Marathon's year-to-date price strength, Todd's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its production growth prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.

Now what: According to Deutsche, Marathon's risk/reward trade-off remains rather attractive at this point. "No company has transformed itself as dramatically as MRO, nor has staked its success on US unconventional so explicitly," said Todd. "Since 2010, US unconventional has increased from 3% to 45% of total production and from 6% to 61% of the capital budget (increasing to 45% and 67%, post-Norway). As constructed, we view MRO as an undervalued play on three, high quality onshore basins, offering above average growth, under-appreciated resource depth, and growing cash return/acceleration flexibility on FCF generation post-2014." Given Marathon's 2%-plus dividend yield and industry-lagging P/E of 10, it's tough to disagree with Deutsche's bullishness. 

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Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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