National Investment Services Inc. WI decreased its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) by 6.0% during the second quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 78,011 shares of the company’s stock after selling 4,982 shares during the period. National Investment Services Inc. WI’s holdings in Kroger Company (The) were worth $1,819,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the company. Aldebaran Financial Inc. raised its position in Kroger Company (The) by 0.6% in the first quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. now owns 14,130 shares of the company’s stock valued at $417,000 after buying an additional 78 shares during the period. Savant Capital LLC raised its position in Kroger Company (The) by 0.9% in the second quarter. Savant Capital LLC now owns 10,617 shares of the company’s stock valued at $248,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the period. Cadence Capital Management LLC raised its position in Kroger Company (The) by 0.7% in the first quarter. Cadence Capital Management LLC now owns 19,717 shares of the company’s stock valued at $581,000 after buying an additional 143 shares during the period. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC raised its position in Kroger Company (The) by 4.1% in the first quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC now owns 4,323 shares of the company’s stock valued at $125,000 after buying an additional 171 shares during the period. Finally, Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp raised its position in Kroger Company (The) by 1.7% in the first quarter. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp now owns 11,189 shares of the company’s stock valued at $330,000 after buying an additional 189 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 77.33% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) traded up 3.03% during trading on Friday, reaching $21.74. 31,786,570 shares of the company traded hands. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $23.31 and its 200-day moving average price is $27.63. Kroger Company has a 12 month low of $20.46 and a 12 month high of $36.44. The stock has a market cap of $19.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.09 and a beta of 0.76. Kroger Company (The) also was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Thursday. Investors bought 12,887 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 392% compared to the average daily volume of 2,621 put options.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58. The firm had revenue of $36.29 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations 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 revenue for the quarter was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.70 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 15th will be given a dividend of $0.125 per share. This is a boost from Kroger Company (The)’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.12. The ex-dividend date is Friday, August 11th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.30%. Kroger Company (The)’s payout ratio is presently 30.12%.

Kroger Company (The) declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback plan on Thursday, June 22nd that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to reacquire up to 4.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

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Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets set a $32.00 price objective on shares of Kroger Company (The) and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, June 10th. UBS AG reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $27.00 target price (down from $32.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a report on Friday, June 16th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a report on Friday. Bank of America Corporation cut shares of Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, June 15th. Finally, Loop Capital reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $32.00 target price on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a report on Wednesday, May 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $30.09.

In related news, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of Kroger Company (The) stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.17, for a total transaction of $131,254.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 124,105 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,627,302.85. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider J Michael Schlotman bought 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 0.85% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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

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