Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Thursday. Stock investors bought 19,399 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 127% compared to the average daily volume of 8,553 put options.

KR has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $34.00 price objective on Kroger Company (The) and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, August 28th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Kroger Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 29th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. downgraded Kroger Company (The) to a “market perform” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $28.00 to $23.00 in a research note on Friday, September 8th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, August 25th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG set a $26.00 price objective on Kroger Company (The) and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, June 19th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $28.54.

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE KR) opened at 20.63 on Friday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $21.35 and its 200 day moving average price is $25.51. Kroger Company has a one year low of $19.69 and a one year high of $36.44. The stock has a market capitalization of $18.35 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.48 and a beta of 0.76.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last released its earnings results on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.39. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 28.04% and a net margin of 1.32%. The company had revenue of $27.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.47 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts forecast that Kroger Company will post $1.97 EPS for the current year.

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

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 15th will be given a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 14th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.42%. Kroger Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is currently 30.30%.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Bank of Nova Scotia boosted its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 906.4% in the 1st quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 211,840 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,247,000 after purchasing an additional 190,790 shares during the last quarter. Cardinal Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in shares of Kroger Company (The) in the 2nd quarter worth $455,000. Loring Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors LLP MA boosted its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 497.2% in the 2nd quarter. Loring Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors LLP MA now owns 5,273 shares of the company’s stock worth $129,000 after purchasing an additional 4,390 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 3.3% in the 1st quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 3,254,556 shares of the company’s stock worth $95,977,000 after purchasing an additional 105,068 shares during the last quarter. Finally, AMG National Trust Bank boosted its position in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 107.3% in the 2nd quarter. AMG National Trust Bank now owns 69,867 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,629,000 after purchasing an additional 36,164 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.83% of the company’s stock.

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Kroger Company (The) Company Profile

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.

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