Kroger Co. shares rose 0.5% in Friday premarket trading after the grocer reported second quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations and announced a new share buyback program. Net income totaled $819 million, or $1.03 per share, up from $297 million, or 37 cents per share, last year. Adjusted EPS of 73 cents was well ahead of the FactSet consensus for 54 cents. Sales of $30.49 billion was up from $28.17 billion last year and ahead of the $29.97 billion FactSet forecast. Digital sales more than doubled, up 127%. Identical sales without fuel rose 14.6%, beating the FactSet consensus for 10.5% growth. On September 11, 2020, the company authorized a new $1 billion share buyback program, which replaces a prior authorization. For the full year, Kroger expects identical sales without fuel to exceed 13% growth, and EPS is expected to be $3.20 to $3.30. The FactSet consensus is for identical sales growth of 9.7% and EPS of $2.92. Kroger stock has gained nearly 20% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 3.4% for the period.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.