Brocker.Org: Early movers: WFM, COST, VRX, KR & more

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Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Kroger — Analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded Kroger’s stock to equal weight from overweight, noting the brick and mortar food channel needs “a pathway back to sustainable earnings growth … for the group to re-rate higher, but this is not currently in our Base Case forecasts.” Morgan Stanley also slashed its price target on the stock to $23 from $32. Shares closed at $22.29 on Friday.

Costco — Analysts at Deutsche Bank lowered their rating on the discount retailer’s stock to hold from buy and cut their price target to $172 from $187 on the back of Amazon’s announced takeover of Whole Foods. Analyst Paul Trussell said in a note the Amazon-Whole Foods deal is a “game changer with [Costco’s] competitive moat in grocery under greater threat while its digital platform lags peers.”

Whole Foods —The grocery store chain’s stock was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Barclays. Analysts said they would not be surprised if a bidding war” for Whole Foods breaks out after Amazon announced its buying the company for $13.7 billion. Barclays also raised its price target to $48 from $38.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals — The company announced activist investor John Paulson will join the board of directors. Paulson is one of Valeant’s biggest shareholders, owning a 5.57 percent stake in the embattled drug business as of March 31.

Boeing — Boeing unveiled the 737 MAX 10, a new model, at the Paris Airshow. The company also said it has more than 240 orders for the new model.

EQT — EQT shares fell more than 7 percent in the premarket after announcing it has agreed to buy Rice Energy for $6.7 billion. Rice’s stock, meanwhile, shot up more than 25 percent before the bell. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

AmerisourceBergen — The firm announced a new corporate structure that realigns its consumer offerings and forms a new management team “to enable quicker, cross-functional decision-making.”

Stryker —The medical technology firm is acquiring Novadaq Technologies, a fluorescence-imaging company, for $11.75 a share, or about $701 million.

—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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