Will This Target Price Increase Help Kroger (KR) Stock Today? (Update)

Update (9:38 a.m.): Updated with Thursday market open information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- UBS increased its target price on Kroger  (KR) to $45, increased its estimates and set a "neutral" rating. The firm noted higher grocery profit and lower fuel profit drives earnings upside.

The stock was down 0.11% to $45.21 at 9:37 a.m. on Thursday.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates KROGER CO as a "buy" with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KROGER CO (KR) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, KR's share price has jumped by 31.81%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, KR should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • KROGER CO's earnings per share declined by 8.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, KROGER CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.90 versus $2.77 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.20 versus $2.90).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.9%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Food & Staples Retailing industry and the overall market, KROGER CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Food & Staples Retailing industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 8.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $462.00 million to $422.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: KR Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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