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Kroger's Coaster Ride Ends in Slight Dip

CINCINNATI – Kroger Co.'s stock price was whipped about by the market yesterday, after a financial analyst from J.P. Morgan said the chain's reported gains for the first quarter could not be sustained, and its strong outlook on the rest of the year was probably too ambitious.

The nation's second-largest food retailer after Wal-Mart, Kroger saw its stock price hit a 16-month high on Tuesday, owing to a 10-plus percent jump on strong first-quarter results.

After the analyst, Stephen Chick, cut his rating on Kroger yesterday to neutral from overweight, Kroger's stock slipped more than 2 percent early, then moved into positive territory briefly before ending with a loss of two cents at $19.43.

Several other big grocers followed Kroger down early in the going, and ended with losses for the day, as well. Albertsons' stock price fell 3.7 percent to $20.76, while Safeway drooped 2 percent to $23.81. Overall the grocery index was off by 0.69 percent for the day.
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