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A Look at Kroger’s Year-to-Date Stock Returns

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Comparing Kroger’s stock market performance to its peers’

After a disappointing performance in 2017, the Kroger Company (KR) stock has delivered solid returns so far this year. The stock is up 16% YTD (year-to-date) and is trading close to its 52-week high. The retailer has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index with its rise of 7% and the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index with its fall of 4.8%.

Kroger has gained a substantial 51% over the past year and is the second-best-performing company in the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index, trailing only Costco (COST) with its return of 54.5% in the same period.

An earnings beat this quarter could further boost the company’s stock price. In comparison, Walmart (WMT) has risen 22% over the past year. It’s fallen 1.9% YTD, however, despite delivering strong second-quarter results recently.

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A look at Kroger’s dividend policy

Kroger has paid regular dividends ever since it reinstated its dividend policy in 2006. The company has grown its dividends at a compound annual growth rate of ~13% over the last ten years.

The company paid $444 million in dividends and returned $1.6 billion to its shareholders through share buybacks in fiscal 2018. It currently has a dividend payout ratio of 16%. In comparison, dividend aristocrat Walmart has a payout ratio of more than 100%.

Comparing dividend yields

Kroger stock offers a lower yield than other dividend-paying food retailers. Its dividend yield is currently hovering around 1.6%. Walmart and Target (TGT) offer higher yields of 2.3% and 2.9%, respectively.

Those looking to invest in Kroger through ETFs can choose to invest in the First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX ETF (FXG). KR has a weight of ~4.3% in FXG.

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