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It is a pleasure to report that the Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) is up 73% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been disappointing. Regrettably, the share price slid 57% in that period. Some might say the recent bounce is to be expected after such a bad drop. After all, could be that the fall was overdone.
Marathon Oil isn't currently profitable, so most analysts would look to revenue growth to get an idea of how fast the underlying business is growing. When a company doesn't make profits, we'd generally expect to see good revenue growth. That's because fast revenue growth can be easily extrapolated to forecast profits, often of considerable size.
In the last three years Marathon Oil saw its revenue shrink by 3.6% per year. That is not a good result. With revenue in decline, and profit but a dream, we can understand why the share price has been declining at 16% per year. Having said that, if growth is coming in the future, now may be the low ebb for the company. We don't generally like to own companies that lose money and can't grow revenues. But any company is worth looking at when it makes a maiden profit.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. If you are thinking of buying or selling Marathon Oil stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 26% in the last year, Marathon Oil shareholders lost 37% (even including dividends). However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 1.6%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Marathon Oil you should know about.
Marathon Oil is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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