Kroger Company (The) (KR) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Friday, November 10th.

According to Zacks, “Stiff competition, volatility in food prices, aggressive promotional environment and waning store traffic are making things tough for Kroger that underperformed the industry in the past six months. This is quite evident from second-quarter fiscal 2017 results, wherein bottom line continues to decline year over year for the fourth straight quarter. On the contrary, top line continues to improve fueled by Customer 1st strategy, digital efforts and recent buyouts, and also came ahead of the estimate for the fourth quarter in row. The company’s dominant position among grocery retailers enables it to sustain sales growth. However, higher investments in new services and compelling pricing strategy may hurt margins. Further, a high debt load also remains a concern. Management as a part of “Restock Kroger” plan is considering the sale of convenience store business and had also reiterated its fiscal 2017 earnings per share view.”

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Jefferies Group LLC lowered their target price on shares of Kroger Company (The) from $24.00 to $19.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research note on Monday, September 11th. BidaskClub raised shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Vetr raised shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $27.01 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. UBS Group AG lowered shares of Kroger Company (The) from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Friday, September 8th. Finally, Hilliard Lyons reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $30.00 price target on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Nineteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $29.10.

Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) traded up $0.36 during trading on Friday, reaching $23.14. 9,668,833 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 12,108,404. Kroger Company has a 52-week low of $19.69 and a 52-week high of $36.44. The firm has a market capitalization of $20,263.31, a PE ratio of 11.93, a P/E/G ratio of 1.76 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a current ratio of 0.87, a quick ratio of 0.33 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.13.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.39. Kroger Company (The) had a net margin of 1.32% and a return on equity of 28.04%. The firm had revenue of $27.60 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.47 earnings per share. Kroger Company (The)’s revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post 1.99 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 69,201,771 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,613,786,000 after acquiring an additional 852,864 shares during the period. FMR LLC grew its position in Kroger Company (The) by 17.7% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 49,409,616 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,152,232,000 after buying an additional 7,446,349 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp grew its position in Kroger Company (The) by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 39,414,284 shares of the company’s stock valued at $919,140,000 after buying an additional 100,796 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. grew its position in Kroger Company (The) by 8.2% in the 2nd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 12,045,681 shares of the company’s stock valued at $280,904,000 after buying an additional 908,078 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC grew its position in Kroger Company (The) by 0.3% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 8,281,641 shares of the company’s stock valued at $166,129,000 after buying an additional 21,381 shares during the last quarter. 75.76% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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