Widely held grocery stocks were generally off to a healthy start Monday, with only Wal-Mart ( WMT) trading in negative territory. Whole Foods shares got a lift Monday after an analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey upgraded the stock to market perform from underperform, citing effective cost-cutting and a favorable antitrust settlement with the FTC in which it will sell 13 Wild Oats stores. The analyst also raised her price target on the stock to $14. Whole Foods shares were recently up 5.4% to $15.16. Wal-Mart ( WMT), on the other hand, was treading in negative territory Monday, with shares recently down 0.5% to $48.96, a drop that some have attributed to Ben Bernanke's assertion that the recession could end in 2009.

If that's the case, Bernanke's comments did not have a similar effect on bulk sellers Costco ( COST) -- which rose 1.4% to $42.77 -- and BJ's Wholesale ( BJ) -- recently up 2.1% to $30.01. Elsewhere:
  • Shares of Kroger (KR) were up 0.4% to $21.34.
  • Safeway (SWY) rose 2.5% to $19.72.
  • SuperValu (SVU) rose 2.6% to $15.36.
  • Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (GAP) rose 8.8% to $5.21.
  • Winn Dixie (WINN) rose 0.9% to $9.02.