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Whole Foods also rose last week following a massive run-up for its natural and organics grocer rival last week, although the reasons behind Sprouts’ gains were unclear at the time. Friday was a quadruple witching day, during which several options and futures expired.
Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Albertsons, controlled by private equity giant Cerberus, had recently held preliminary discussions to potentially merge with Sprouts and take it private. However, no deal was yet in place, and one might not materialize.
Sprouts popped at the open, climbing as high as 23.07, but reversed to trade down 0.9% to 21.83 Monday. But that’s after soaring 23% last week.
Whole Foods rose 1.1% to 29.85 after reaching as high as 30.17 in the stock market today, finding resistance near its 50-day moving average. Whole Foods climbed nearly 4% from Tuesday’s intraday low to Friday’s close as Sprouts took off.
Kroger (KR) was rumored last year to be interested in buying Whole Foods.
Whole Foods has struggled as more traditional grocers — such as Kroger — take a page from its playbook, offering more organic and higher-quality fare on their own shelves to compete.
But Kroger and other mainstream and value grocers also have struggled in recent months amid broad food price deflation, in part driven by Wal-Mart (WMT). Wal-Mart, a member of the Dow Jones industrial average, is the No. 1 U.S. grocer.
Kroger fell 1.2%. Wal-Mart edged up 0.1%.