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What's Ahead for Marathon Oil (MRO) this Earnings Season?

Marathon Oil Corporation MRO – a leading energy firm with a large and geographically diverse reserve base and solid project pipeline – is set to release first-quarter 2016 financial results after the closing bell on May 4.    

Last quarter the company posted a positive average surprise of 4.00%. Moreover, the oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) firm posted an average positive surprise of 22.69% for the trailing four quarters. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.    

Factors to Consider this Quarter

Marathon Oil expects production from its North America E&P unit – one of the major contributing segments – of around 230,000–240,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d). This is lower than both the sequential and the year-ago quarter output.  

On top of that, upstream firms like Marathon Oil are likely to have been hit hard by weak crude prices during the January–March quarter. Price realization is an important component of margin for such E&P firms. Moreover, the absence of the downstream segment – as Marathon Oil spun off its refining business in 2011 with the formation of Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) – not only reduces its asset diversification but also increases its risk profile, especially in this weak pricing scenario. 

Earnings Whispers?

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Marathon Oil is likely to beat estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below: 

Zacks ESP: Marathon Oil currently has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at a loss of 47 cents per share.

Zacks Rank: Marathon Oil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While this is favors our prediction, a 0.00% ESP leaves our forecast inconclusive.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies that according to our model have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Enable Midstream Partners, LP ENBL with an Earnings ESP of +21.05% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).  

Hercules Offshore, Inc. HERO has an Earnings ESP of +15.24% and a Zacks Rank #2.

DCP Midstream Partners LP DPM with an Earnings ESP of +9.52% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
ENABLE MIDSTRM (ENBL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HERCULES OFFSHR (HERO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DCP MIDSTREAM (DPM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MARATHON OIL CP (MRO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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