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Don't Chase Marathon Petroleum Stock Ahead of Earnings

It's been difficult to find value in an energy sector that has suffered amid a global glut that has pressured the industry's revenue and margins. But owing to a solid refining business, Marathon Petroleum (MPC - Get Report) , whose shares are up 7.5% in 2015 and 12.2% in 12 months, has been an exception. And ahead of the company's third-quarter earnings results Thursday, investors should be careful. Chasing Marathon stock higher after its relative outperformance may not make sense.

For the quarter that ended September, the average analyst earning-per-share estimate calls for $1.80 a share on revenue of $20.40 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter, when the company earned $1.18 a share on revenue of $25.48 billion. For the full year, ending in December, earnings are projected to climb 31% year over year to $5.92 a share, while...


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