Royal Bank Of Canada set a $34.00 price objective on Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) in a research note published on Monday morning. The brokerage currently has a buy rating on the stock.

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday. Deutsche Bank AG set a $26.00 target price on Kroger Company (The) and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, June 19th. ValuEngine lowered Kroger Company (The) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered Kroger Company (The) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 2nd. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an equal weight rating and issued a $30.00 target price (down previously from $40.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research note on Friday, June 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $30.09.

Shares of Kroger Company (NYSE KR) opened at 21.72 on Monday. Kroger Company has a 1-year low of $20.46 and a 1-year high of $36.44. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $23.31 and a 200-day moving average price of $27.63. The company has a market cap of $19.49 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.08 and a beta of 0.76.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58. The business had revenue of $36.29 billion for 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 was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.70 EPS. On average, equities analysts expect that Kroger Company will post $1.98 EPS for the current year.

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

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

In related news, insider J Michael Schlotman purchased 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 26th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $22.73 per share, for a total transaction of $45,460.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Susan M. Phillips sold 6,200 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, June 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.17, for a total value of $131,254.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 124,105 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,627,302.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.87% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in KR. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in shares of 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. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 1.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 69,201,771 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,613,786,000 after buying an additional 852,864 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 17.7% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 49,409,616 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,152,232,000 after buying an additional 7,446,349 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp increased its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 0.3% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 39,414,284 shares of the company’s stock valued at $919,140,000 after buying an additional 100,796 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. increased its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 8.2% in the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 12,045,681 shares of the company’s stock valued at $280,904,000 after buying an additional 908,078 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.63% of the company’s stock.

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.

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

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