Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed their hold rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The firm currently has a $24.00 target price on the stock, down from their previous target price of $25.00. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Kroger Company (The)’s Q4 2018 earnings at $0.63 EPS, Q1 2019 earnings at $0.61 EPS, Q3 2019 earnings at $0.42 EPS, FY2019 earnings at $2.05 EPS, FY2020 earnings at $2.20 EPS, FY2021 earnings at $2.43 EPS and FY2022 earnings at $2.72 EPS.

KR has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Loop Capital began coverage on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Monday, May 15th. They set a hold rating and a $32.00 price objective for the company. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Kroger Company (The) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. TheStreet downgraded shares of Kroger Company (The) from a b rating to a c+ rating in a research report on Thursday, June 15th. Wells Fargo & Company reissued an outperform rating and set a $28.00 price objective on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Sunday, July 2nd. Finally, Vetr downgraded shares of Kroger Company (The) from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $33.46 price objective for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $30.04.

Kroger Company (NYSE KR) traded up 2.47% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $22.41. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 6,571,001 shares. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $23.21 and its 200 day moving average price is $27.31. Kroger Company has a 12 month low of $20.46 and a 12 month high of $36.44. The firm has a market cap of $20.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.49 and a beta of 0.76.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58. Kroger Company (The) had a net margin of 1.35% and a return on equity of 29.10%. The firm had revenue of $36.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $35.69 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.70 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current year.

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Kroger Company (The) announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Thursday, June 22nd that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 4.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 15th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 11th. This is an increase from Kroger Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.29%. Kroger Company (The)’s payout ratio is 30.12%.

In other news, insider J Michael Schlotman purchased 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.17, for a total transaction of $131,254.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 124,105 shares in the company, valued at $2,627,302.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Dowling & Yahnke LLC increased its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 7.4% in the first quarter. Dowling & Yahnke LLC now owns 44,350 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,308,000 after buying an additional 3,050 shares during the last quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 17.7% in the first quarter. Perennial Advisors LLC now owns 33,290 shares of the company’s stock valued at $982,000 after buying an additional 5,015 shares during the last quarter. Emerald Advisers Inc. PA increased its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 93.0% in the first quarter. Emerald Advisers Inc. PA now owns 102,364 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,019,000 after buying an additional 49,317 shares during the last quarter. Seatown Holdings Pte. Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Kroger Company (The) during the first quarter valued at approximately $15,040,000. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD increased its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 10.1% in the first quarter. Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Company LTD now owns 75,138 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,215,000 after buying an additional 6,885 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

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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