Kroger Company (The) (KR) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday morning.

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

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE KR) traded down $0.45 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $21.69. The stock had a trading volume of 3,267,171 shares, compared to its average volume of 12,070,158. Kroger Company has a 1-year low of $19.69 and a 1-year high of $36.44. The stock has a market capitalization of $19,640.65, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.56, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.70 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.13, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.33.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last released its earnings results on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.39. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 28.04% and a net margin of 1.32%. The firm had revenue of $27.60 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $27.48 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.47 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts expect that Kroger Company will post 2 earnings per share for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, November 15th will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.31%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 14th. Kroger Company (The)’s payout ratio is 30.30%.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Howe & Rusling Inc. purchased a new stake in Kroger Company (The) in the 3rd quarter valued at $103,000. Dupont Capital Management Corp purchased a new stake in Kroger Company (The) in the 2nd quarter valued at $105,000. Cedar Wealth Management LLC grew its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 155.9% in the 2nd quarter. Cedar Wealth Management LLC now owns 4,990 shares of the company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 3,040 shares in the last quarter. CWM LLC grew its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 1,162.2% in the 2nd quarter. CWM LLC now owns 5,213 shares of the company’s stock valued at $122,000 after buying an additional 4,800 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Grove Bank & Trust grew its holdings in Kroger Company (The) by 9.3% in the 2nd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 5,287 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 450 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.06% of the company’s stock.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR)

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