Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) saw unusually large options trading on Thursday. Stock investors purchased 12,887 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 392% compared to the average volume of 2,621 put options.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on KR shares. Deutsche Bank AG restated a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Friday, May 12th. J P Morgan Chase & Co downgraded Kroger Company (The) from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and decreased their target price for the company from $34.00 to $24.00 in a research report on Friday, June 16th. Morgan Stanley downgraded Kroger Company (The) from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating and decreased their target price for the company from $40.00 to $30.00 in a research report on Monday, June 19th. TheStreet downgraded Kroger Company (The) from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 15th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Kroger Company (The) from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 2nd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have given a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $30.09.

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 document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider J Michael Schlotman bought 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 26th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Paradigm Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Kroger Company (The) during the second quarter valued at approximately $220,000. Sentry Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 114.9% in the second quarter. Sentry Investment Management LLC now owns 72,943 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,701,000 after buying an additional 39,000 shares during the last quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 26.9% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 315,969 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,368,000 after buying an additional 66,919 shares during the last quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC increased its stake in Kroger Company (The) by 38,135.3% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 13,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 12,966 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Afam Capital Inc. acquired a new stake in Kroger Company (The) during the second quarter valued at approximately $885,000. Institutional investors own 77.33% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE:KR) opened at 21.74 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $23.31 and a 200-day moving average price of $27.63. The firm has a market capitalization of $19.51 billion, a PE ratio of 13.09 and a beta of 0.76. Kroger Company has a 52 week low of $20.46 and a 52 week high of $36.44.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.58. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 29.10% and a net margin of 1.35%. The firm had revenue of $36.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $35.69 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.70 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post $1.98 earnings per share for the current year.

Kroger Company (The) declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, June 22nd that authorizes the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase up to 4.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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

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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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