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Murphy USA: More Fuel For Thought

On 2/20/14, Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) released solid Q4 2013 and full year results. The headline number of $2 EPS for the quarter is not comparable to the prior year, since GAAP results were boosted by one-time gains and discontinued operations. Digging a little deeper, it's clear that Q4 was somewhat challenging for the company. This is not totally unexpected, given that Q4 is a seasonally weak time for driving as well as heating needs resulting in a rising price environment for oil and other fuels. Although the blowout headline number of $2 in Q4 EPS was lifted by the benefit from the sale of the Hankinson ethanol plant and a $0.25 benefit from discontinued ethanol operations, the remaining...

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