The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Kroger and Sprouts Farmers Market

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - June 19, 2017 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN - Free Report ) , Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM - Free Report ), Walmart (NYSE: WMT - Free Report ), Kroger (NYSE: KR - Free Report ) and Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ: SFM - Free Report ).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Amazon Scoops Up Whole Foods in $13.7B Deal

E-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN - Free Report ) shocked Wall Street on Friday by announcing their plans to buy organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM - Free Report ) in a deal valued at $13.7 billion, or $42 a share. Amazon's offer represents a 27% premium to Whole Foods' closing price on Thursday. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Shares of Whole Foods skyrocketed on the news, and the stock is currently up almost 27% as of 9:09 AM EST. AMZN stock is also gaining, up about 3.6% around the same time to $999.28 per share.

Whole Foods has struggled recently as more competitors encroach on the natural and organic grocery sector. National giants like Walmart (NYSE: WMT - Free Report ) and Kroger (NYSE: KR - Free Report ) have seriously stepped up their organic offerings over the last few years, while fast-growing chains like Aldi are expanding into Whole Foods' covetable markets (also read: Why Aldi is the Grocery Store of the Future ).

As a result, the company came under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners, which also acquired a sizable stake, and money manager Neuberger Berman. Both called on Whole Foods to sell itself or consider a merger offer, and criticized the grocery chain for poor performance.

"This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market's shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers," John Mackey, Whole Foods' CEO, said in a statement.

Mackey will remain the chief executive after the deal closes, and the company will continue to operate under the Whole Foods brand.

This also marks Amazon's biggest acquisition to date. The company bought Twitch Interactive Inc. for $970 million in cash back in 2014.

The deal sent other grocery stocks into a freefall on Friday. Shares of Kroger are down over 13.5% in morning trading; the company has been hit hard recently, no thanks to a disappointing earnings report , and has seen its stock tumble nearly 33% in the last two days.

Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ: SFM - Free Report ) stock is down over 10% in the same time frame.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (WFM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Kroger Company (The) (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (SFM): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: AMZN , WFM , WMT , KR , SFM

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