Kroger (KR) Rating Reiterated by Pivotal Research

Pivotal Research reiterated their buy rating on shares of Kroger (NYSE:KR) in a research report report published on Tuesday morning, Marketbeat.com reports. They currently have a $28.00 target price on the stock, down from their previous target price of $32.00.

“We expect management will also provide tax rate guidance on Thursday and more color on the after-tax proceeds from the c- store sale. We’ve assumed roughly $1.4-$1.5 billion of debt reduction in FY18 based on the sale. We’ve further refined our revenue, share count, rent, D&A, and margin assumptions based on the c-store sale to EG Group. Our 4Q17 EPS est. is unchanged at $0.61 and this assumes ID sales growth (ex. fuel) of +1.3% based on strong execution in the latest quarter. As summarized in this note, we estimate that Kroger comped positively in 80% of its markets during the latest quarter. That said, it’s also clear that the pricing environment remains extremely competitive. We’re also seeing very strong top-line performance by Aldi and WMT based on analysis of our data. Following the recent 50 bps decline in Walmart’s U.S.”,” the firm’s analyst wrote.

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KR has been the topic of a number of other reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $31.00 price target on Kroger and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, March 2nd. Zacks Investment Research raised Kroger from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $30.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Friday, March 2nd. Royal Bank of Canada reissued an outperform rating and set a $38.00 price target on shares of Kroger in a research note on Wednesday, February 28th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on Kroger from $28.00 to $29.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Kroger from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Sixteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Kroger currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $27.52.

Kroger (NYSE KR) opened at $24.08 on Tuesday. Kroger has a 12-month low of $19.69 and a 12-month high of $31.45. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.74, a current ratio of 0.78 and a quick ratio of 0.31. The stock has a market capitalization of $20,253.69, a PE ratio of 11.27, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.69 and a beta of 1.02.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last released its earnings results on Thursday, March 8th. The company reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63. Kroger had a return on equity of 29.27% and a net margin of 1.55%. The firm had revenue of $31.03 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.81 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.53 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts forecast that Kroger will post 2.08 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 1st. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 15th were paid a $0.125 dividend. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.08%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, February 14th. Kroger’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 23.70%.

In other Kroger news, insider Christopher T. Hjelm sold 16,530 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.00, for a total value of $446,310.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 243,784 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,582,168. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, COO Michael Joseph Donnelly sold 15,400 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $27.66, for a total value of $425,964.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 290,353 shares in the company, valued at $8,031,163.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 110,130 shares of company stock worth $3,187,062. Insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Advisory Services Network LLC lifted its stake in Kroger by 297.2% in the fourth quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 3,773 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 2,823 shares during the period. Compagnie Lombard Odier SCmA acquired a new position in Kroger in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $119,000. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its stake in Kroger by 97.2% in the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 4,980 shares of the company’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 2,455 shares during the period. Gradient Investments LLC acquired a new position in Kroger in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $152,000. Finally, SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Kroger in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $162,000. 74.75% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Kroger

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 (NYSE:KR)

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