Nomura Holdings Shines Light on Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) and Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO)

Nomura Holdings analysts weigh in on the investment giant Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) and oil and gas giant Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), offering compelling reasons for their ratings and summarizing expectations.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Nomura Holdings analyst Cliff Gallant came out with a few insights on Berkshire Hathaway after the company reported third-quarter earnings in line with Nomura’s estimate of $4.6 billion. Berkshire holds about 27 percent of the stock in the Kraft Heinz Food Co., and it recorded a $4.4 billion after-tax gain as the result of the merger that was completed over the summer.

Gallant commented, “While lower oil prices continue to directly and indirectly impact businesses ranging from auto insurance to manufacturing to railways, the company controlled costs and continued to grow. Book value grew 1% over the quarter to $151,083 per share, as the expected Heinz gain was largely offset by declines in the equity portfolio.”

“While it would be highly uncharacteristic of senior management to “make a bet” on a commodity, Berkshire appears to have gone long oil. At GEICO, people across America appear to be driving more and enjoying low gas prices…and getting into more accidents. At BNSF, demand for railway cars has been impacted by the fortunes of the shale and fracing industry. In the manufacturing businesses as well, industrial demand has been impacted, although partially offset by lower production costs. The company’s newest investments, the pending acquisition of PCP and more shares of Phillips 66, raise the company’s exposure to oil, too. The low price of oil appears to be a consistent theme affecting several of Berkshire’s businesses,” the analyst continued.

The analyst concluded, “We are tweaking our earnings estimates to $10,619 from $10,417 for 2015 and to $12,481 from $12,621 for 2016 reflecting the quarter’s results. Our target remains $239,000, just 1.4-1.5x our expectation for 2016 book value, in our view an attractive valuation for a collection of quality companies producing significant positive cashflows.”

Gallant reiterated a Buy rating on Berkshire Hathaway shares, with a price target of $239,000, which implies an upside of 19% from current levels.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Cliff Gallant has a total average return of 4% and a 63% success rate. Gallant has a 15.2% average return when recommending BRK.A, and is ranked #1648 out of 3832 analysts.

Marathon Oil Corporation

Nomura Holdings analyst Lloyd Byrne reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Marathon Oil, with a price target of $24, after the company announced the divestiture of operated GOM properties in the Ewing Bank area and its non-operated interests in the Petronius and Neptune fields for a total of $205mn.

Byrne noted, “While our estimate of EBITDA makes the sale dilutive from a ratio perspective, we continue to believe that MRO needs to keep its restructuring moving forward in order for the market to re-rate it. Any re-rating will be a function of sustainable onshore growth, with positive returns in a normalized price environment, in our view. If the market understands how CF will be reinvested, and if MRO can live within CF, are challenging “ifs,” but we like MRO’s onshore assets more than the market does.”

According to, analyst Lloyd Byrne has a total average return of -27.0% and a 0% success rate. Byrne has a average return when recommending MRO, and is ranked #3292 out of 3832 analysts.

Out of the 8 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 5 rate Marathon Oil stock a Hold, while 4 rate the stock a Buy. With a return potential of 48%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $27.20.


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