Kroger Co (NYSE:KR)’s share price reached a new 52-week high during trading on Friday . The stock traded as high as $31.53 and last traded at $31.52, with a volume of 668760 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $30.50.

Several research firms have recently commented on KR. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Kroger from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Saturday, June 16th. Northcoast Research restated a “buy” rating and set a $36.00 price target on shares of Kroger in a report on Monday, July 23rd. Wolfe Research cut shares of Kroger from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Monday, June 25th. Bank of America upgraded shares of Kroger from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $28.00 to $33.00 in a report on Thursday, May 17th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Kroger from $26.50 to $28.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, June 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $29.19.

The firm has a market capitalization of $24.01 billion, a PE ratio of 14.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.12 and a beta of 0.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.74, a quick ratio of 0.29 and a current ratio of 0.76.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, June 21st. The company reported $0.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.10. The firm had revenue of $37.53 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $37.25 billion. Kroger had a net margin of 2.93% and a return on equity of 29.59%. Kroger’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.58 earnings per share. equities analysts expect that Kroger Co will post 2.12 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, September 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, August 15th will be issued a $0.14 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, August 14th. This is a boost from Kroger’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.13. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.78%. Kroger’s dividend payout ratio is currently 27.45%.

In related news, VP Carin L. Fike sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.76, for a total value of $115,040.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 29,361 shares in the company, valued at $844,422.36. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Susan J. Kropf sold 13,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, July 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.43, for a total transaction of $369,590.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 101,171 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,876,291.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.07% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in Kroger by 2.3% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 65,465,026 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,862,480,000 after acquiring an additional 1,490,831 shares during the last quarter. LSV Asset Management lifted its position in Kroger by 6.1% during the 2nd quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 15,856,614 shares of the company’s stock worth $451,120,000 after acquiring an additional 907,367 shares during the last quarter. Aristotle Capital Management LLC lifted its position in Kroger by 7.2% during the 1st quarter. Aristotle Capital Management LLC now owns 10,367,993 shares of the company’s stock worth $248,210,000 after acquiring an additional 696,119 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its position in Kroger by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 8,533,613 shares of the company’s stock worth $242,781,000 after acquiring an additional 119,262 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley lifted its position in Kroger by 12.4% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 7,621,037 shares of the company’s stock worth $216,820,000 after acquiring an additional 842,386 shares during the last quarter. 81.89% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Kroger (NYSE:KR)

The Kroger Co, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. It also manufactures and processes food products for sale in its supermarkets. The company operates supermarkets, multi-department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores. Its combination food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood, and organic produce; multi-department stores provide general merchandise items, such as apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products, toys, and fine jewelry; and price impact warehouse stores offer grocery, and health and beauty care items, as well as meat, dairy, baked goods, and fresh produce items.

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