Kroger Company (The) (KR) Shares Down 11% Following Analyst Downgrade

Shares of Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) traded down 11% during mid-day trading on Friday after Royal Bank of Canada lowered their price target on the stock from $37.00 to $34.00. Royal Bank of Canada currently has an outperform rating on the stock. Kroger Company (The) traded as low as $24.37 and last traded at $21.87, with a volume of 71,181,715 shares traded. The stock had previously closed at $24.56.

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the company. Scotiabank lowered their price objective on Kroger Company (The) from $36.00 to $31.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday. Barclays PLC lowered their price objective on Kroger Company (The) from $33.00 to $25.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) lowered Kroger Company (The) from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $33.00 to $26.00 in a research note on Friday. J P Morgan Chase & Co lowered Kroger Company (The) from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $34.00 to $24.00 in a research note on Friday. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group lowered Kroger Company (The) from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $38.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Friday. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have given a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $32.48.

In related news, Director Susan J. Kropf sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.90, for a total value of $299,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 84,673 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,531,722.70. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Ronald Sargent sold 4,465 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $29.35, for a total value of $131,047.75. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 81,240 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,384,394. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 74,604 shares of company stock valued at $2,234,714. Insiders own 0.85% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in KR. Aldebaran Financial Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 0.6% in the first quarter. Aldebaran Financial Inc. now owns 14,130 shares of the company’s stock worth $417,000 after buying an additional 78 shares during the period. Vident Investment Advisory LLC boosted its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Vident Investment Advisory LLC now owns 42,464 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,465,000 after buying an additional 113 shares during the period. Cadence Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 0.7% in the first quarter. Cadence Capital Management LLC now owns 19,717 shares of the company’s stock worth $581,000 after buying an additional 143 shares during the period. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 4.1% in the first quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC now owns 4,323 shares of the company’s stock worth $125,000 after buying an additional 171 shares during the period. Finally, Savant Capital LLC boosted its stake in shares of Kroger Company (The) by 1.7% in the first quarter. Savant Capital LLC now owns 10,527 shares of the company’s stock worth $310,000 after buying an additional 171 shares during the period. 77.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

The stock has a market capitalization of $20.38 billion, a PE ratio of 10.87 and a beta of 0.73. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $29.21 and its 200 day moving average price is $31.39. Kroger Company (The) also was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Investors bought 885 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 198% compared to the average volume of 297 call options.

Kroger Company (The) (NYSE:KR) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, June 15th. The company reported $0.58 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58. Kroger Company (The) had a return on equity of 30.79% and a net margin of 1.70%. The firm had revenue of $36.29 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $35.69 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.70 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts anticipate that Kroger Company will post $2.14 earnings per share for the current year.

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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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