Kroger Co.'s stock plunged 18.8% in active morning trade Thursday to pace NYSE decliners, putting them on course to suffer the biggest one-day selloff this millennium, in the wake of the grocery chain's disappointing profit outlook. Volume spiked to 36.1 million shares, already more than four times the full-day average, and enough to make the stock the third-most active on the major U.S. exchanges. The one-day percentage decline would be the sixth biggest in its history, according to FactSet, and the biggest since it plummeted 24.6% on Dec. 6, 1999. BMO Capital analyst Kelly Bania said that despite the disappointing earnings-per-share and margin guidance, she sees some encouraging signs in that quarter-to-date same-store sales are running positive, and that margins appear on track to improve. The stock has now tumbled 29% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.4%.
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