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Declining Stock and Solid Fundamentals: Is The Market Wrong About Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC)?

Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) has had a rough three months with its share price down 14%. But if you pay close attention, you might gather that its strong financials could mean that the stock could potentially see an increase in value in the long-term, given how markets usually reward companies with good financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on Marathon Petroleum's ROE.

Return on equity or ROE is a key measure used to assess how efficiently a company's management is utilizing the company's capital. Put another way, it reveals the company's success at turning shareholder investments into profits.

View our latest analysis for Marathon Petroleum

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

ROE can be calculated by using the formula:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

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So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Marathon Petroleum is:

32% = US$9.4b ÷ US$30b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2024).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. So, this means that for every $1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of $0.32.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

We have already established that ROE serves as an efficient profit-generating gauge for a company's future earnings. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

A Side By Side comparison of Marathon Petroleum's Earnings Growth And 32% ROE

To begin with, Marathon Petroleum has a pretty high ROE which is interesting. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 18% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. So, the substantial 50% net income growth seen by Marathon Petroleum over the past five years isn't overly surprising.

Next, on comparing with the industry net income growth, we found that Marathon Petroleum's growth is quite high when compared to the industry average growth of 38% in the same period, which is great to see.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. What investors need to determine next is if the expected earnings growth, or the lack of it, is already built into the share price. By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Has the market priced in the future outlook for MPC? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Marathon Petroleum Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Marathon Petroleum has a really low three-year median payout ratio of 12%, meaning that it has the remaining 88% left over to reinvest into its business. So it looks like Marathon Petroleum is reinvesting profits heavily to grow its business, which shows in its earnings growth.

Besides, Marathon Petroleum has been paying dividends for at least ten years or more. This shows that the company is committed to sharing profits with its shareholders. Looking at the current analyst consensus data, we can see that the company's future payout ratio is expected to rise to 24% over the next three years. Accordingly, the expected increase in the payout ratio explains the expected decline in the company's ROE to 21%, over the same period.

Summary

Overall, we are quite pleased with Marathon Petroleum's performance. Particularly, we like that the company is reinvesting heavily into its business, and at a high rate of return. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an impressive earnings growth. Having said that, on studying current analyst estimates, we were concerned to see that while the company has grown its earnings in the past, analysts expect its earnings to shrink in the future. Are these analysts expectations based on the broad expectations for the industry, or on the company's fundamentals? Click here to be taken to our analyst's forecasts page for the company.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com