Shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) have been given an average rating of “Hold” by the thirty-one brokerages that are covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have given a hold rating, ten have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokerages that have covered the stock in the last year is $29.64.

Several research firms recently issued reports on KR. BMO Capital Markets set a $32.00 price target on Kroger Company (The) and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, June 10th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a report on Friday, May 12th. Bank of America Corporation cut Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, June 15th. ValuEngine cut Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Vetr cut Kroger Company (The) from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $33.46 price target on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, May 10th.

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) traded down 1.99% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $23.11. 8,189,817 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $23.47 and its 200 day moving average price is $28.20. The firm has a market capitalization of $20.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.91 and a beta of 0.76. Kroger Company has a 52-week low of $20.46 and a 52-week high of $36.44.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.58. The business had revenue of $36.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $35.69 billion. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 29.10% and a net margin of 1.35%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.70 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Kroger Company (The) announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, June 22nd that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy up to 4.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 15th will be given a $0.125 dividend. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.16%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 11th. This is a positive change from Kroger Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. Kroger Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 28.92%.

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In related news, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of Kroger Company (The) stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.17, for a total value of $131,254.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 124,105 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,627,302.85. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider J Michael Schlotman bought 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 0.87% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 3,334.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 72,026,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,124,067,000 after buying an additional 69,929,316 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 1.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 69,201,771 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,613,786,000 after buying an additional 852,864 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 17.7% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 49,409,616 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,152,232,000 after buying an additional 7,446,349 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 0.3% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 39,414,284 shares of the company’s stock worth $919,140,000 after buying an additional 100,796 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 8.2% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 12,045,681 shares of the company’s stock worth $280,904,000 after buying an additional 908,078 shares in the last quarter. 77.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Kroger Company (The)

The Kroger Co (Kroger) manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. The Company operates supermarkets, multi-department stores, jewelry stores and convenience stores throughout the United States. As of January 28, 2017, it had operated approximately 4,000 owned or leased supermarkets, convenience stores, fine jewelry stores, distribution warehouses and food production plants through divisions, subsidiaries or affiliates.

Analyst Recommendations for Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR)

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