(TSO) Tesoro Corporation – Bull of the Day

Buoyed by heightened investor interest and a slew of positive developments, we are upgrading Tesoro Corporation (TSO) shares to Outperform from Neutral. The company’s decision to resume dividend payouts and the announcement of a $500 million share buyback program make us optimistic about the independent refiner/marketer.

Our positive stance also revolves around Tesoro’s proposed acquisition of BP’s Southern California refinery, which, apart from boosting refinery capacity, will also improve the company’s operational efficiency. An uptick in crack spreads and Tesoro’s scale and diversification benefits afforded by its portfolio of seven refineries add to the positive sentiment.

Overall, we believe Tesoro is well positioned going forward and view it as an attractive investment. Our $48 price target is based on 2012 P/E multiple of 8.2x.

Zacks Investment Research

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