Kroger (KR) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kroger (NYSE:KR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday, January 2nd. The firm currently has $31.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Kroger has been trying all means to overcome stiff competition, which has intensified with the entrance of Amazon, volatility in food prices, promotional environment and dwindling store traffic. The company is expanding store base, introducing new items, digital coupons, and order online, pick up in store initiative. The company’s “Restock Kroger” program is gaining traction. The company's operational strategies present enormous opportunities to augment identical supermarket sales and enhance return on invested capital. These endeavors facilitated Kroger to post better-than-expected third-quarter fiscal 2017 results, wherein both the top and bottom lines grew year over year. This provided a much needed boost to the stock that outpaced the industry in three months. However, higher investments in new services and compelling pricing strategy may hurt margins. Further, a high debt load may impact credit worthiness.”

KR has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Citigroup lifted their target price on shares of Kroger from $30.00 to $33.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 26th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Kroger from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 27th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Kroger from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Wolfe Research upgraded shares of Kroger from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group boosted their target price on shares of Kroger from $24.00 to $28.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Seventeen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $29.80.

Shares of Kroger (NYSE:KR) opened at $27.99 on Tuesday. Kroger has a 1-year low of $19.69 and a 1-year high of $34.99. The firm has a market cap of $24,670.00, a PE ratio of 16.66, a PEG ratio of 3.60 and a beta of 0.93. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.11, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a current ratio of 0.85.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 30th. The company reported $0.44 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $27.75 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $27.48 billion. Kroger had a net margin of 1.31% and a return on equity of 28.60%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.41 earnings per share. research analysts predict that Kroger will post 2.03 EPS for the current year.

In other news, VP Carin L. Fike sold 1,538 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.61, for a total value of $39,388.18. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 25,956 shares in the company, valued at $664,733.16. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Michael Joseph Donnelly sold 15,400 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, December 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $27.66, for a total transaction of $425,964.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 290,353 shares in the company, valued at $8,031,163.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 58,868 shares of company stock worth $1,607,426 in the last 90 days. 0.87% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Howe & Rusling Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Kroger in the third quarter valued at approximately $103,000. Mountain Capital Investment Advisors Inc acquired a new position in shares of Kroger in the second quarter valued at approximately $128,000. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. lifted its stake in Kroger by 85.2% in the second quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 5,888 shares of the company’s stock worth $137,000 after acquiring an additional 2,708 shares during the last quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC lifted its stake in Kroger by 38,135.3% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 13,000 shares of the company’s stock worth $139,000 after acquiring an additional 12,966 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Citizens Financial Group Inc RI lifted its stake in Kroger by 4.3% in the second quarter. Citizens Financial Group Inc RI now owns 6,165 shares of the company’s stock worth $144,000 after acquiring an additional 255 shares during the last quarter. 79.59% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Kroger

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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