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Investors appear enthusiastic and optimistic about The Kroger Company’s (KR - Analyst Report) earnings results to be announced on Thursday, with shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock surging to attain a new 52-week high of $35.56 yesterday, before closing at $35.52, up 1% from the previous day’s session. The stock has amassed a year-to-date return of approximately 36%.

Based on the current price, this multi-department store operator is 7.6% above the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $33.00. The company currently trades at a forward P/E of 12.82x, a 10.2% discount to the peer group average of 14.28x, indicating an upside potential. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 9.2%.

Kroger is slated to report its first-quarter fiscal 2013 results on Jun 20, 2013. Looking at the earnings surprise history, it has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last 6 quarters by an average of 8.9%.

A dominant position among the nation’s largest grocery retailers enables Kroger to sustain growth in both its top and bottom line, expand its store base, and boost its market share. The company’s strong corporate and national brands helped it gain customer loyalty. These factors, along with the Customer 1st strategy and effective cost management are facilitating the company to post better-than-expected results.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter currently stands at 88 cents a share, which rose by a penny in the last 90 days. However, no movement was noticed in the last 7, 30 or 60 days.

Alongside, General Electric Company (GE - Analyst Report), B&G Foods Inc. (BGS - Snapshot Report) and The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report) achieved a new 52-week high of $24.45, $33.78 and $104.15, respectively on Jun 18, 2013.

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