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Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Seagen, Moderna, Utz, Kroger and more

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The Kroger supermarket chain’s headquarters is shown in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Lisa Baertlein | Reuters

Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading Friday.

Seagen — Shares of the biotech company surged more than 16.1% following a Wall Street Journal report that pharmaceutical company Merck is considering buying Seagen. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, said the two companies have been in discussions for a while about a potential deal.

Azek — The building products company rose more than 6% after Bank of America upgraded the stock to buy from neutral, saying Azek is “well positioned” as more products convert to “more resilient” materials from wood.

Utz — Shares of the snack food company jumped more than 3% after Goldman Sachs upgraded Utz to buy from neutral. The investment firm said in a note to clients that Utz was gaining market share in a product category that should be relatively sheltered from inflation concerns.

Moderna — Shares of the pharmaceutical company jumped 5.7% after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna’s and Pfizer’s Covid-19 shots for children as young as 6 months old. The move makes nearly every person in the U.S. eligible for vaccination. — The e-commerce company’s stock rose more than 3% after CEO Xin Lijun divulged a possible expansion into food delivery in a Bloomberg interview.

Adobe — Adobe shares dipped 1% after the software company issued worse-than-expected current quarter and full-year guidance, citing ongoing challenges from the Ukraine-Russia war.

Meritage Homes — Meritage Homes fell 2.7% after Wells Fargo downgraded the home construction company to underweight from equal weight. Analysts at the firm said they’re worried that homebuilders such as Meritage Homes will get dinged as housing data is “likely to incrementally get worse from here.”

Kroger — Shares dropped 7% after the grocery store chain said in its most-recent quarterly report that rising inflation is spurring consumers to choose cheaper store brands.

Diamondback Energy, Devon Energy, Marathon Oil — Energy stocks dropped across the board as oil prices fell on fears of a recession. Diamondback and Devon Energy each fell more than 9%, while Marathon Oil slid 8.1%.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom, Yun Li and Jesse Pound contributed reporting

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