Kroger Company (The) (KR) Shares Gap Down After Analyst Downgrade

Shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) gapped down prior to trading on Monday after BMO Capital Markets lowered their price target on the stock from $24.00 to $20.00. The stock had previously closed at $20.77, but opened at $21.06. BMO Capital Markets currently has a market perform rating on the stock. Kroger Company (The) shares last traded at $21.28, with a volume of 13,562,278 shares trading hands.

A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on KR. UBS AG restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $27.00 price objective (down from $32.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, June 16th. BidaskClub upgraded Kroger Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Kroger Company (The) from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday. Jefferies Group LLC lowered their price objective on Kroger Company (The) from $24.00 to $19.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday. Finally, Stephens initiated coverage on Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, August 11th. They issued an “underweight” rating and a $20.00 price objective on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $28.83.

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

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Bank of Nova Scotia raised its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 906.4% in the first 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 in the last quarter. Holderness Investments Co. bought a new position in Kroger Company (The) in the first quarter worth $277,000. Hosking Partners LLP raised its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 10.2% in the first quarter. Hosking Partners LLP now owns 528,328 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,580,000 after purchasing an additional 48,785 shares in the last quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc raised its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 10.8% in the first quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 9,177 shares of the company’s stock worth $272,000 after purchasing an additional 898 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cardinal Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in Kroger Company (The) in the second quarter worth $455,000. Institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

The company has a market capitalization of $19.15 billion, a PE ratio of 12.85 and a beta of 0.79. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $23.12 and its 200 day moving average is $26.76.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.39. The business had revenue of $27.60 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $27.48 billion. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 28.04% and a net margin of 1.32%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.47 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 15th were paid a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, August 11th. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.34%. This is a positive change from Kroger Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. Kroger Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is presently 30.30%.

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

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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.

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