* Shares of Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd. closed down 4.5% on Jan. 2 after the Chinese liquor company said it expects to record full-year 2019 net profit that will miss analysts' expectations, Reuters reported. The baijiu-maker said it anticipates full-year 2019 net profit to jump 15% year over year to 40.5 billion Chinese yuan, according to Reuters. The S&P Global Market Intelligence GAAP net income estimate for 2019 is 42.54 billion yuan, up nearly 21% from 2018's 35.20 billion yuan.
* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Dec. 27, 2019, 2,561 vaping-related lung injury cases were reported from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. The CDC also confirmed 55 deaths in 27 states and Washington, D.C., while more are under investigation. As of Dec. 17, 2019, 2,506 lung injury cases and 54 deaths had been reported.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* U.K. retailer Co-operative Group Ltd. said it plans to roll out its vegan products at more than 6,000 Co-op and independent stores, beginning January. The range, dubbed Gro, offers more than 35 meat-free products. The retailer will also expand its partnership with Roofoods Ltd., doing business as Deliveroo, to deliver grocery essentials in under 30 minutes to 400 stores.
* Food service company Sligro Food Group NV posted total sales of €654 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up year over year from €624 million. For 2019, net sales totaled €2.39 billion, marking a 2.1% increase from €2.35 billion in 2018. However, adjusted for the impact of acquisitions, sales decreased by 0.9%.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* Vibe Bioscience Ltd. completed the acquisition of private company EVR Managers LLC for an undisclosed sum, effective Dec. 30, 2019. EVR Managers holds a license for an adult-use cannabis retail operation in Redding, Calif.
* Utz Quality Food LLC said it completed its acquisition of Kitchen Cooked Inc. The deal includes the Kitchen Cooked snack food brand, direct store delivery operations and manufacturing operations. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* U.K. bakery chain Greggs PLC rolled out a meat-free version of its steak bake product as it expands its successful vegan offerings, The Guardian reported. The new vegan snack will be available in 1,300 shops starting Jan. 2 and the remaining 700 outlets Jan. 16.
* Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has no immediate plans to launch a breakfast menu in 2020, CNBC reported, citing an interview with CEO Brian Niccol.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng gained 1.25% to 28,543.52.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.84% to 7,606.17, and the Euronext 100 increased 1.17% to 1,157.83.
On the macro front
The jobless claims report, PMI manufacturing index, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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