Traders purchased shares of Kroger (NYSE:KR) on weakness during trading on Friday. $88.41 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $47.54 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $40.87 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Kroger had the 29th highest net in-flow for the day. Kroger traded down ($0.06) for the day and closed at $24.12

KR has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. TheStreet upgraded Kroger from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 27th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Kroger from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $30.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, March 2nd. Jefferies Group upgraded Kroger from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the company from $26.98 to $33.00 in a research note on Friday, January 5th. Citigroup raised their price target on Kroger from $30.00 to $33.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 26th. Finally, Pivotal Research restated a “buy” rating and issued a $28.00 price target (down from $32.00) on shares of Kroger in a research note on Tuesday, March 6th. Seventeen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Kroger has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $27.17.

The firm has a market capitalization of $20,600.85, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.82, a P/E/G ratio of 1.99 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a quick ratio of 0.32, a current ratio of 0.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.74.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 8th. The company reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.63. The business had revenue of $31.03 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $30.81 billion. Kroger had a return on equity of 29.27% and a net margin of 1.55%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 12.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.53 EPS. equities research analysts anticipate that Kroger will post 2.06 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 1st. Investors of record on Tuesday, May 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.125 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, May 14th. This represents a $0.50 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.07%. Kroger’s payout ratio is currently 24.51%.

Kroger announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, March 15th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Kroger news, insider Robert W. Clark sold 11,000 shares of Kroger stock in a transaction on Monday, January 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $29.57, for a total value of $325,270.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 130,780 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,867,164.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Todd A. Foley sold 3,800 shares of Kroger stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $24.43, for a total value of $92,834.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 31,273 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $763,999.39. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 62,800 shares of company stock valued at $1,888,824. 0.85% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Advisory Services Network LLC raised its holdings in Kroger by 297.2% in the 4th quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 3,773 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after acquiring an additional 2,823 shares in the last quarter. Compagnie Lombard Odier SCmA acquired a new position in Kroger in the 4th quarter valued at $119,000. Bessemer Group Inc. raised its holdings in Kroger by 97.2% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 4,980 shares of the company’s stock valued at $136,000 after acquiring an additional 2,455 shares in the last quarter. Gradient Investments LLC acquired a new position in Kroger in the 4th quarter valued at $152,000. Finally, SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Kroger in the 4th quarter valued at $162,000. 75.69% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Kroger Company Profile

The Kroger Co, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer in the United States. It also manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets. The company operates retail food and drug stores, 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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