Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) gapped up before the market opened on Tuesday . The stock had previously closed at $35.77, but opened at $35.79. Kroger shares last traded at $36.17, with a volume of 3,742,955 shares traded.

Several research firms recently weighed in on KR. SunTrust Banks Inc. began coverage on Kroger in a research note on Tuesday, May 3rd. They set a “neutral” rating and a $39.00 target price for the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Kroger from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $39.00 target price for the company in a research note on Wednesday, May 4th. Morgan Stanley restated a “buy” rating on shares of Kroger in a research note on Wednesday, April 6th. Credit Suisse Group AG decreased their target price on Kroger from $36.00 to $34.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, May 12th. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating on shares of Kroger in a research note on Friday, May 20th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Kroger presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $41.31.

The company has a market cap of $34.56 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.04. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $36.28 and its 200 day moving average is $37.06.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, June 16th. The company reported $0.70 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.01. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.63 EPS. The firm earned $34.61 billion during the quarter. The business’s revenue was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Kroger Co. will post $2.22 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, September 1st. Investors of record on Monday, August 15th will be paid a $0.12 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 11th. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.32%. This is a positive change from Kroger’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.11.

In other Kroger news, EVP Christopher Conlon sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.43, for a total transaction of $531,450.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 15,000 shares in the company, valued at $531,450. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP Oflen Mary Elizabeth Van sold 12,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $37.85, for a total transaction of $454,200.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 82,349 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,116,909.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors have made changes to their positions in KR. EQIS Capital Management boosted its position in shares of Kroger by 220.2% in the fourth quarter. EQIS Capital Management now owns 36,853 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,542,000 after buying an additional 25,343 shares in the last quarter. BOKF NA boosted its position in shares of Kroger by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. BOKF NA now owns 292,838 shares of the company’s stock valued at $12,249,000 after buying an additional 1,614 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its position in shares of Kroger by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 63,600 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,660,000 after buying an additional 1,186 shares in the last quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd boosted its position in shares of Kroger by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 277,870 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,623,000 after buying an additional 7,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Mutual of America Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Kroger by 0.6% in the fourth quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 108,725 shares of the company’s stock valued at $4,548,000 after buying an additional 601 shares in the last quarter.

The Kroger Co (Kroger) operates retail food and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores, and convenience stores throughout the United States. The Company also manufactures and processes some of the food for sale in its supermarkets. The Company operated, either directly or through its subsidiaries, approximately 2,625 supermarkets and multi-department stores, approximately 1,330 of which had fuel centers.

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