Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) has earned an average recommendation of “Hold” from the thirty brokerages that are covering the firm, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, eighteen have given a hold recommendation, eight have given a buy recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company. The average 1-year price objective among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $29.25.

Several research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $32.00 price objective on shares of Kroger Company (The) and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 10th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, May 12th. Bank of America Corporation lowered shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 15th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 price objective (down previously from $35.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Monday, June 12th.

Kroger Company (KR) traded down 7.51% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $21.06. 62,444,244 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $18.90 billion, a PE ratio of 12.68 and a beta of 0.79. Kroger Company has a one year low of $20.41 and a one year high of $36.44. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $23.12 and its 200-day moving average price is $26.90. Kroger Company (The) also was the target of unusually large options trading activity on Thursday. Stock traders acquired 31,730 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 607% compared to the typical daily volume of 4,485 put options.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.39. Kroger Company (The) had a net margin of 1.35% and a return on equity of 29.10%. The business had revenue of $27.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $27.48 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.47 EPS. Kroger Company (The)’s quarterly revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that Kroger Company will post $1.98 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Kroger Company (The) declared that its board has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, June 22nd that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to purchase up to 4.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 15th were issued a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.37%. This is an increase from Kroger Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. The ex-dividend date was Friday, August 11th. Kroger Company (The)’s payout ratio is presently 30.12%.

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In related news, insider J Michael Schlotman acquired 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 26th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, June 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.17, for a total transaction of $131,254.00. Following the completion of 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. 0.85% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Intl Fcstone Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Kroger Company (The) in the second quarter valued at $645,000. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Kroger Company (The) in the second quarter valued at $220,000. Sentry Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 114.9% in the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 72,943 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,701,000 after purchasing an additional 39,000 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its holdings in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 26.9% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 315,969 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,368,000 after purchasing an additional 66,919 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Archford Capital Strategies LLC increased its holdings in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 38,135.3% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 13,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $139,000 after purchasing an additional 12,966 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other 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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