Kroger (NYSE:KR) Cut to “Hold” at Jefferies Financial Group

Jefferies Financial Group lowered shares of Kroger (NYSE:KR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday, BenzingaRatingsTable reports. The brokerage currently has $26.00 target price on the stock, down from their previous target price of $29.00.

KR has been the subject of several other research reports. Bank of America set a $28.00 price objective on shares of Kroger and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 13th. Pivotal Research reissued a buy rating and issued a $30.00 price objective (up previously from $26.00) on shares of Kroger in a research report on Wednesday, September 11th. Credit Suisse Group reissued an outperform rating and issued a $29.00 price objective (up previously from $27.00) on shares of Kroger in a research report on Friday, September 13th. Telsey Advisory Group reissued a market perform rating and issued a $27.00 price objective (down previously from $29.00) on shares of Kroger in a research report on Friday, June 21st. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued a market perform rating and issued a $26.00 price objective (up previously from $24.00) on shares of Kroger in a research report on Wednesday, September 4th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $27.39.

KR stock traded down $0.15 on Thursday, hitting $24.10. 4,402,338 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,729,076. Kroger has a twelve month low of $20.70 and a twelve month high of $31.98. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.15, a current ratio of 0.76 and a quick ratio of 0.27. The business’s fifty day moving average is $24.86 and its two-hundred day moving average is $23.85. The stock has a market capitalization of $19.34 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.42, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.72 and a beta of 0.58.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 12th. The company reported $0.44 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.03. Kroger had a net margin of 1.36% and a return on equity of 21.17%. The firm had revenue of $28.17 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $28.34 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.41 earnings per share. Kroger’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Kroger will post 2.19 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, December 1st. Investors of record on Friday, November 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, November 14th. Kroger’s payout ratio is 30.33%.

In related news, COO Michael Joseph Donnelly sold 1,574 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.46, for a total transaction of $41,648.04. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 324,209 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $8,578,570.14. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Carin L. Fike sold 4,652 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.00, for a total transaction of $120,952.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 33,796 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $878,696. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 118,923 shares of company stock valued at $3,106,189. Company insiders own 1.34% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Buckley Wealth Management LLC grew its holdings in Kroger by 4.9% during the 3rd quarter. Buckley Wealth Management LLC now owns 28,395 shares of the company’s stock valued at $732,000 after purchasing an additional 1,330 shares in the last quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Kroger by 18.5% during the 3rd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 106,805 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,753,000 after acquiring an additional 16,685 shares during the last quarter. CX Institutional bought a new position in Kroger during the 3rd quarter valued at $2,276,000. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new position in Kroger during the 3rd quarter valued at $7,097,000. Finally, Everence Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Kroger by 133.7% during the 3rd quarter. Everence Capital Management Inc. now owns 27,394 shares of the company’s stock valued at $706,000 after acquiring an additional 15,670 shares during the last quarter. 80.37% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Kroger

The Kroger Co operates as a retailer in the United States. The company operates supermarkets, multi-department stores, marketplace stores, and price impact warehouse stores. Its combination food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood, and organic produce; and multi-department stores provide apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products, and toys.

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Analyst Recommendations for Kroger (NYSE:KR)

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