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Marathon Petroleum 3Q net falls 86 percent

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October 31, 2013 11:37 AM EST | AP

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — NEWS: Oil refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. saw its third-quarter net income plunge 86 percent as profit margins for refining collapsed.

DETAILS: Refiners make their money on the "crack spread," or the difference between the cost of crude oil and the selling price for the refined products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. One industry measure of crack spreads fell to $6.52 per barrel, compared to $11.81 a year earlier, the company said. It was also hurt by tighter differences between sweet crude oil and sour. Swings in those prices can hurt refiners if they use one kind of oil but compete against another refiner that uses the other kind.

NUMBERS: Net income was $168 million, or 54 cents per share, down from $1.22 billion, or $3.59 per share, a year earlier. If not for special items it would have earned 59 cents per share, matching the expectation of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenue rose 23.6 percent to $26.27 billion, from $21.25 billion a year earlier.

FUTURE: Marathon Petroleum said its $2 billion in cash and unused $2.5 billion line of credit "should provide it with sufficient flexibility to meet its day-to-day operational needs" and continue to balance investing in its business and returning cash to shareholders.

STOCK: Shares of the company, based in Findlay, Ohio, rose $1.68, or 2.3 percent, to $74.19 in morning trading. Their 52-week range is $52.36 to $92.73.