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Marathon Petroleum off to a good start on 1st day

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A total of 4,167,083 shares of Marathon Petroleum were traded on its first day with the Findlay company's stock drawing a "buy" rating from Deutsche Bank.

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FINDLAY -- In its first full day as an independent company, Marathon Petroleum Corp. saw a boost to the price of its newly issued stock.

Shares for Marathon Petroleum, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "MPC," closed at $42.20 yesterday, up 80 cents. The stock reached a high of $47.43 shortly after the market's opening bell, but then quickly settled in at the $42-$43 range.

Overall, a total of 4,167,083 shares of Marathon Petroleum were traded on its first day with the Findlay company's stock drawing a "buy" rating from Deutsche Bank.

Analysts at Credit Suisse also initiated coverage of Marathon Petroleum yesterday and gave the stock an "outperform" rating and a price target of $55 a share.

Witnessed by a group of dignitaries that included Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Marathon Petroleum completed its spin-off into a separate company on Thursday from Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp. Marathon Petroleum is the nation's fifth largest oil refiner and northwest Ohio's largest public company, with $62.5 billion in sales last year.

Yesterday's opening stock price was determined by "when issued" shares that began trading late last week.

Private brokerage clients bought the stock at a set price and received the shares when trading began yesterday on the stock exchange.

Marathon Oil retained its "upstream" business units, such as oil exploration and production, after the spin-off, and no longer has ownership in Marathon Petroleum. The Houston company's stock, which trades under the symbol "MRO," closed at $32.95, up 97 cents.

Shareholders received one share of Marathon Petroleum stock for every two shares of Marathon Oil stock held as of the close of business Monday.

The split resulted in a distribution of 356 million Marathon Petroleum shares.

In a report last month, Zacks Investment Research said the spin-off will allow Marathon Petroleum and Marathon Oil to "pursue great opportunities in their respective market segments and better serve the needs of both investor groups without the constraints of the parent company."

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