Short Interest in Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) Increases By 16.0%

Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) was the target of a large increase in short interest in the month of June. As of June 30th, there was short interest totalling 48,132,900 shares, an increase of 16.0% from the May 30th total of 41,487,900 shares. Currently, 6.1% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 8,740,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 5.5 days.

Shares of KR traded up $0.13 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $21.89. The stock had a trading volume of 6,049,950 shares, compared to its average volume of 10,961,429. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.37, a PEG ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 0.62. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $22.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.16, a quick ratio of 0.25 and a current ratio of 0.75. Kroger has a fifty-two week low of $21.17 and a fifty-two week high of $32.74.

Kroger (NYSE:KR) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, June 20th. The company reported $0.72 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.71 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $37.25 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $37.27 billion. Kroger had a return on equity of 21.79% and a net margin of 1.54%. The business’s revenue was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.73 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Kroger will post 2.18 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Thursday, August 15th will be given a $0.16 dividend. This is a positive change from Kroger’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 14th. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.92%. Kroger’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.54%.

In related news, EVP Christopher T. Hjelm sold 16,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.80, for a total transaction of $412,800.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 282,429 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,286,668.20. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Christine S. Wheatley sold 1,500 shares of Kroger stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, April 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.21, for a total value of $37,815.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 126,054 shares in the company, valued at $3,177,821.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 41,416 shares of company stock worth $1,013,895. Company insiders own 1.34% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. CIBC Asset Management Inc boosted its position in Kroger by 0.5% during the 1st quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 91,859 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,260,000 after purchasing an additional 417 shares during the period. Kaizen Advisory LLC boosted its position in Kroger by 24.9% during the 4th quarter. Kaizen Advisory LLC now owns 2,147 shares of the company’s stock valued at $59,000 after purchasing an additional 428 shares during the period. Riverview Trust Co boosted its position in Kroger by 50.7% during the 1st quarter. Riverview Trust Co now owns 1,403 shares of the company’s stock valued at $35,000 after purchasing an additional 472 shares during the period. Wealthquest Corp boosted its position in Kroger by 6.1% during the 1st quarter. Wealthquest Corp now owns 9,170 shares of the company’s stock valued at $225,000 after purchasing an additional 527 shares during the period. Finally, Aurora Investment Counsel raised its stake in Kroger by 1.0% during the 4th quarter. Aurora Investment Counsel now owns 57,878 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,592,000 after acquiring an additional 574 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 80.10% of the company’s stock.

KR has been the topic of several analyst reports. ValuEngine upgraded Zogenix from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Thursday, June 27th. Guggenheim dropped their price objective on Kroger from $31.00 to $26.00 in a report on Monday, June 24th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a C$36.00 price objective on shares of NFI Group in a report on Tuesday, June 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded GCP Applied Technologies from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 31st. Finally, Bank of America initiated coverage on HUYA in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. They set a “buy” rating and a $26.00 price objective on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. Kroger presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $29.00.

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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