Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in the month of September. As of September 15th, there was short interest totalling 75,098,199 shares, a growth of 23.5% from the August 31st total of 60,825,038 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 20,343,986 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 3.7 days. Approximately 8.4% of the shares of the stock are short sold.

Shares of Kroger Company (KR) opened at 20.56 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $18.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.44 and a beta of 0.76. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $21.56 and a 200 day moving average price of $25.64. Kroger Company has a 1-year low of $19.69 and a 1-year high of $36.44.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, September 8th. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.39. Kroger Company (The) had a net margin of 1.32% and a return on equity of 28.04%. The firm had revenue of $27.60 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $27.48 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.47 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post $1.97 EPS for the current year.

Kroger Company (The) announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase plan on Thursday, June 22nd that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to repurchase up to 4.9% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 1st. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 15th will be paid a $0.125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, November 14th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.43%. Kroger Company (The)’s dividend payout ratio is presently 30.30%.

KR has been the topic of several analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets set a $32.00 target price on shares of Kroger Company (The) and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, June 10th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $34.00 price target on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a report on Tuesday, June 13th. Wells Fargo & Company reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $28.00 price objective (down previously from $35.00) on shares of Kroger Company (The) in a research report on Monday, June 12th. Bank of America Corporation lowered Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 15th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group lowered Kroger Company (The) from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $38.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Friday, June 16th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $28.58.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings 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 worth $2,124,067,000 after acquiring an additional 69,929,316 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its stake in 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 acquiring an additional 852,864 shares during the period. FMR LLC grew its stake in 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 acquiring an additional 7,446,349 shares during the period. State Street Corp grew its stake in 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 acquiring an additional 100,796 shares during the period. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. grew its stake in 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 acquiring an additional 908,078 shares during the period. 75.83% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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