Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO): Hedge Funds Are Bullish and Insiders Are Bearish, What Should You Do?

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) was in 40 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. MRO investors should be aware of an increase in hedge fund sentiment of late. There were 38 hedge funds in our database with MRO holdings at the end of the previous quarter.

At the moment, there are plenty of metrics market participants can use to track publicly traded companies. Two of the most innovative are hedge fund and insider trading sentiment. At Insider Monkey, our studies have shown that, historically, those who follow the top picks of the top fund managers can outperform their index-focused peers by a healthy amount (see just how much).

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)

Equally as integral, bullish insider trading sentiment is a second way to break down the investments you’re interested in. There are lots of reasons for an executive to get rid of shares of his or her company, but only one, very clear reason why they would behave bullishly. Plenty of empirical studies have demonstrated the market-beating potential of this tactic if piggybackers know where to look (learn more here).

Consequently, let’s take a glance at the key action regarding Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO).

What does the smart money think about Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)?

At the end of the fourth quarter, a total of 40 of the hedge funds we track were bullish in this stock, a change of 5% from the third quarter. With hedgies’ positions undergoing their usual ebb and flow, there exists a select group of notable hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes significantly.

Of the funds we track, Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group had the largest position in Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), worth close to $266 million, comprising 0.4% of its total 13F portfolio. On Citadel Investment Group’s heels is Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors, with a $95 million position; the fund has 0.5% of its 13F portfolio invested in the stock. Other peers that are bullish include Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital, Cliff Asness’s AQR Capital Management and Israel Englander’s Millennium Management.

Now, some big names were leading the bulls’ herd. Sigma Capital Management, managed by SAC Subsidiary, initiated the most valuable position in Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO). Sigma Capital Management had 12 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Mark Kingdon’s Kingdon Capital also made a $12 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The following funds were also among the new MRO investors: T Boone Pickens’s BP Capital, Noam Gottesman’s GLG Partners, and Charles Davidson’s Wexford Capital.

What have insiders been doing with Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)?

Insider purchases made by high-level executives is best served when the company in question has seen transactions within the past 180 days. Over the last half-year time frame, Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) has seen zero unique insiders purchasing, and 1 insider sales (see the details of insider trades here).

With the results demonstrated by our studies, retail investors should always keep an eye on hedge fund and insider trading sentiment, and Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) is no exception.

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