Shares of Rite Aid are up over 11 percent on Monday on high-volume trading. The Federal Trade Commission has to approve the merger, and doubts about that approval are easing, giving a boost to drug shares.
Fred's Pharmacy stock rose more than 13 percent on Monday. It is in a deal with Walgreens and Rite Aid to purchase 865 stores and certain assets related to store operations for $950 million in cash. That deal would make Fred's Pharmacy the third-largest drugstore in the U.S.
Rite Aid and Walgreens have pushed back the closing date on their combination a few times as they await the FTC's decision. The transaction with Fred's Pharmacy is expected to take place several months after the Rite Aid-Walgreens deal is completed, subject to approvals and closing conditions.