What happened

Shares of Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) were moving higher on Friday as investor enthusiasm for the stock surged after news of yet another acquisition deal in the healthcare industry, and as the market is anticipating the struggling pharmacy chain's first-quarter earnings report out tomorrow afternoon.

The stock closed up 8.7% after gaining as much as 10.5% earlier in the session.

A pharmacist helping an old man

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

This morning, AbbVie, the drugmaker best known for Humira, said it would acquire Botox maker Allergan for $63 billion, a move that sent shares of the target company up 25%. AbbVie, on the other hand, plunged 16% as investors seemed to think the company overpaid for Allergan.

Nonetheless, the deal sparked hopes that Rite Aid would find a suitor after a deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance was repeatedly blocked, ending in Rite Aid selling nearly half of its stores to the larger drugstore chain, rather than all of them.

M&A in the healthcare sector has been heating up, with CVS and Aetna merging, and Cigna's acquisition of Express Scripts. After today's news, investors have newfound hope that Rite Aid will be the next to find a dance partner.

Now what 

Shares of the country's No. 3 pharmacy chain have utterly collapsed since the Walgreens deal was blocked, as the stock is down 83% over the last year. Investors even had to endure the ignominy of a 1-for-20 reverse split in April to keep the stock from being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange.

Investors may also be hopeful ahead of the company's first-quarter report coming out after hours tomorrow. Analysts are expecting another round of unremarkable results with an adjusted loss per share of $0.07 and revenue of $5.38 billion, down 0.2% from a year ago, but given its low price and recent volatility, the stock could move sharply again Thursday after the quarterly results come out.