Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC): Can This Company Keep Its Profits Up?

On Tuesday, Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Conditions in the refining industry have never been better, with a combination of factors bringing crude oil prices down while keeping gasoline and diesel prices high. Yet some storm clouds on the horizon could bring those favorable conditions to an end in the future. Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Marathon Petroleum

Analyst EPS Estimate $2.16
Change From Year-Ago EPS 27%
Revenue Estimate $19.8 billion
Change From Year-Ago Revenue (2.3%)
Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters 4

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

How can Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) keep growing this quarter?
Analysts have boosted their earnings estimates on Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) sharply in recent months, with a $0.40 per share increase in their first-quarter estimates and a jump of more than $1 per share for their full-year 2013 calls. The stock is up 20% since late January, yet a 10% drop in the past month reflects more recent concerns going forward.

Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC) has capitalized on the supply and demand disparities between U.S. producers and worldwide consumers of energy products. With high demand from resource-poor countries like Japan and South Korea as well as several Western European nations, Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC), Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO), and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) have all boosted their exports of refined products to more than half a million barrels at the end of 2012.