Achmea Investment Management B.V. bought a new position in Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm bought 21,651 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $638,000.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 3,334.2% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 72,026,662 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,124,067,000 after buying an additional 69,929,316 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 54.1% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 41,963,267 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,237,497,000 after buying an additional 14,723,540 shares in the last quarter. CI Global Investments Inc. bought a new stake in Kroger Company (The) during the first quarter valued at about $270,002,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 15.3% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 68,348,907 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,015,609,000 after buying an additional 9,054,273 shares in the last quarter. Finally, UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. boosted its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 172.8% in the fourth quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. now owns 6,284,040 shares of the company’s stock valued at $216,862,000 after buying an additional 3,980,341 shares in the last quarter. 77.42% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Kroger Company (KR) traded down 2.31% during trading on Thursday, hitting $24.06. The stock had a trading volume of 12,425,525 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $23.58 and a 200 day moving average of $28.89. Kroger Company has a 1-year low of $20.46 and a 1-year high of $36.44. The company has a market capitalization of $21.59 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.49 and a beta of 0.76. Kroger Company (The) also was the target of unusually large options trading on Monday. Investors purchased 9,005 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 204% compared to the typical daily volume of 2,965 put options.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.58. The business had revenue of $36.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $35.69 billion. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 29.10% and a net margin of 1.35%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.70 earnings per share. Analysts expect that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 1st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, August 15th will be issued a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 11th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.08%. 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 28.92%.

Kroger Company (The) announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Thursday, June 22nd that allows the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 4.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

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Several analysts have weighed in on KR shares. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $37.00 target price on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, May 12th. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, May 12th. Vetr lowered shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $33.46 price target for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “buy” rating and set a $28.00 price target (down previously from $35.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Monday, June 12th. Finally, Argus restated a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Monday, June 19th. Nineteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Kroger Company (The) currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $30.51.

In other news, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 16th. The stock was 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 in the company, valued at $2,627,302.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Michael Joseph Donnelly sold 17,600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $30.01, for a total value of $528,176.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 249,208 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,478,732.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.85% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR)

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