UPDATE 1-Marathon Petroleum Q4 profit lower, but tops Street

Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:39am EST

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Marathon Petroleum Corp, the third-largest stand-alone U.S. refining company, on Wednesday posted a quarterly profit that topped estimates as refining margins were better than expected.

For the fourth quarter, Marathon reported net income of $626 million, or $2.07 per share, compared with $755 million, or $2.24 per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, Marathon had a profit of $2.10 per share, a figure that handily beat analysts average estimate of $1.15 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Marathon's gross margins came in at $7.64 per barrel, above Credit Suisse's estimate of $5.03 per barrel as the company benefited from discounted Gulf Coast crudes, the analysts said in a note to clients.

Shares of Marathon at one point spiked to $86.81 in premarket trading, up 4 percent from Tuesday's close of $83.17.

Marathon's maintenance costs for its refineries and other properties more than doubled during the quarter.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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