Kroger (KR) Receives Average Rating of “Hold” from Analysts

Kroger (NYSE:KR) has received a consensus rating of “Hold” from the thirty research firms that are currently covering the firm, MarketBeat.com reports. Seventeen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation, eleven have assigned a buy recommendation and one has given a strong buy recommendation to the company. The average 12 month target price among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $27.05.

Several analysts recently issued reports on KR shares. BMO Capital Markets set a $31.00 target price on Kroger and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, March 2nd. Citigroup increased their target price on Kroger from $30.00 to $33.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 26th. Morgan Stanley set a $27.00 target price on Kroger and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Zacks Investment Research cut Kroger from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Finally, TheStreet cut Kroger from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Monday, March 5th.

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Shares of NYSE:KR traded down $0.06 during trading on Friday, hitting $24.12. 16,221,106 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 7,733,870. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.32 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.74. Kroger has a 52-week low of $19.69 and a 52-week high of $31.45. The stock has a market capitalization of $20,600.85, a P/E ratio of 11.82, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 1.04.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last released its earnings results on Thursday, March 8th. The company reported $0.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the 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 during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.81 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.53 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 12.4% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Kroger will post 2.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, May 15th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. This represents a $0.50 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, May 14th. Kroger’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 24.51%.

Kroger declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Thursday, March 15th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, insider Christopher T. Hjelm sold 8,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $30.64, for a total transaction of $245,120.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 251,784 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,714,661.76. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Todd A. Foley sold 3,800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.43, for a total value of $92,834.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 31,273 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $763,999.39. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 62,800 shares of company stock valued at $1,888,824. Company insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of KR. Sanders Capital LLC bought a new stake in Kroger during the 4th quarter valued at $293,538,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in Kroger during the 4th quarter valued at $89,873,000. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its position in Kroger by 70.1% during the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 4,645,757 shares of the company’s stock valued at $127,526,000 after purchasing an additional 1,914,070 shares in the last quarter. Minneapolis Portfolio Management Group LLC bought a new stake in Kroger during the 4th quarter valued at $49,450,000. Finally, LSV Asset Management raised its position in Kroger by 11.5% during the 4th quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 14,112,947 shares of the company’s stock valued at $387,400,000 after purchasing an additional 1,459,907 shares in the last quarter. 75.69% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Kroger

The Kroger Co, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. It also manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. The company operates retail food and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores. Its combination food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood, and organic produce; multi-department stores provide general merchandise items, such as apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products, toys, and fine jewelry; and price impact warehouse stores offer grocery, and health and beauty care items, as well as meat, dairy, baked goods, and fresh produce items.

Analyst Recommendations for Kroger (NYSE:KR)

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