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Kraft, Mondelez begin trading as 2 companies

NEW YORK -- Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International are now trading as two separate public companies.

Kraft Foods Inc. decided to spin off its global snack business in March. That company, called Mondelez International Inc., will be home to global brands including Oreo, Cadbury and Nabisco and trade under the ticker "MDLZ."

Mondelez's stock gained 2 cents to $27.84 in Tuesday morning trading.

The North American grocery business will continue to carry the name Kraft and include Velveeta, Miracle Whip and Oscar Mayer. Its ticker will change to "KRFT" from "KFT"

Shares of Kraft Foods Group, based in Northfield, Ill., added 61 cents to $44.71.

Scott Mushkin of Jefferies started coverage of Kraft Foods Group Inc. with a "Buy" rating and $50 price target. The analyst said while the company only runs in the slower growing North American market, it is a shareholder-friendly operator with strong brands.

"Management's strong track record in the consumer products space gives us confidence that it can execute on the ambitious plans for Kraft," Mushkin wrote in a client note.

Citi Investment Research's David Driscoll gave Kraft Foods Group a "Neutral" rating and $48 price target. The analyst feels that Kraft can increase its sales by 2 percent to 3 percent and boost earnings per share by 7 percent to 9 percent over the long term by improving margins and reinvesting savings into new products and marketing.