Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) shares reached a new 52-week low during trading on Thursday . The company traded as low as $23.44 and last traded at $23.50, with a volume of 3965825 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $24.00.

A number of research firms have commented on KR. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Kroger from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, May 17th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Kroger from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 8th. Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded shares of Kroger from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $33.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of Kroger in a report on Wednesday, March 20th. They issued an “in-line” rating and a $27.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Credit Suisse Group lowered their target price on shares of Kroger from $33.00 to $30.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, March 8th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $30.47.

The firm has a market capitalization of $19.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 11.15, a PEG ratio of 1.46 and a beta of 0.64. The company has a current ratio of 0.76, a quick ratio of 0.28 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.54.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 7th. The company reported $0.48 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.51 by ($0.03). The company had revenue of $28.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $28.38 billion. Kroger had a return on equity of 23.50% and a net margin of 2.57%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 9.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.63 EPS. As a group, analysts anticipate that Kroger Co will post 2.22 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, June 1st. Investors of record on Wednesday, May 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.38%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, May 14th. Kroger’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.54%.

In related news, Director Robert D. Beyer sold 80,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.52, for a total transaction of $1,961,600.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 126,800 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,109,136. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Michael Joseph Donnelly sold 10,916 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.83, for a total transaction of $281,960.28. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 351,095 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,068,783.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 108,416 shares of company stock worth $2,694,175. 1.34% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc raised its position in Kroger by 1.0% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 65,890,150 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,918,063,000 after acquiring an additional 660,052 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in Kroger by 4.7% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 57,852,610 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,590,947,000 after acquiring an additional 2,587,501 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in Kroger by 13.2% during the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 21,333,814 shares of the company’s stock worth $586,680,000 after acquiring an additional 2,485,028 shares during the last quarter. LSV Asset Management raised its position in Kroger by 1.8% during the first quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 20,412,468 shares of the company’s stock worth $502,146,000 after acquiring an additional 361,800 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC raised its position in Kroger by 13.5% during the first quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 13,586,811 shares of the company’s stock worth $334,238,000 after acquiring an additional 1,620,668 shares during the last quarter. 81.96% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Kroger (NYSE:KR)

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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