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Could The Market Be Wrong About Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) Given Its Attractive Financial Prospects?

It is hard to get excited after looking at Marathon Petroleum's (NYSE:MPC) recent performance, when its stock has declined 14% over the past three months. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Marathon Petroleum's ROE today.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

Check out our latest analysis for Marathon Petroleum

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

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

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

53% = US$18b ÷ US$34b (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2023).

The 'return' is the profit over the last twelve months. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.53 in profit.

What Has ROE Got To Do With Earnings Growth?

So far, we've learned that ROE is a measure of a company's profitability. We now need to evaluate how much profit the company reinvests or "retains" for future growth which then gives us an idea about the growth potential of the company. 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.

Marathon Petroleum's Earnings Growth And 53% ROE

First thing first, we like that Marathon Petroleum has an impressive ROE. Second, a comparison with the average ROE reported by the industry of 33% also doesn't go unnoticed by us. As a result, Marathon Petroleum's exceptional 29% net income growth seen over the past five years, doesn't come as a surprise.

We then compared Marathon Petroleum's net income growth with the industry and we're pleased to see that the company's growth figure is higher when compared with the industry which has a growth rate of 22% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

The basis for attaching value to a company is, to a great extent, tied to its earnings growth. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Is MPC fairly valued? This infographic on the company's intrinsic value has everything you need to know.

Is Marathon Petroleum Using Its Retained Earnings Effectively?

Marathon Petroleum has a really low three-year median payout ratio of 8.4%, meaning that it has the remaining 92% 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 36% over the next three years. Therefore, the expected rise in the payout ratio explains why the company's ROE is expected to decline to 12% over the same period.

Conclusion

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. That being so, according to the latest industry analyst forecasts, the company's earnings are expected 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.

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