* EBay Inc. agreed to acquire Cox Automotive Media Solutions, which operates buy-and-sell automotive platforms in Australia, for an undisclosed sum. Under the agreement, Cox Automotive's CarsGuide.com.au and Autotrader.com.au will be merged with eBay's Gumtree business to expand the company's car-buying offering. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals in Australia and other closing conditions.
* Rite Aid Corp. narrowed its adjusted EPS forecast for fiscal 2020 to between 13 cents and 55 cents from its previous guidance of zero and 56 cents. It also expects revenue to come in at $21.5 billion to $21.9 billion, with same-store sales growth of zero to 1%. For the third quarter, adjusted diluted EPS rose to 54 cents from 28 cents, while revenue totaled $5.46 billion.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* Nike Inc. reported that diluted EPS for the second quarter ended Nov. 30 jumped 35% year over year to 70 cents from 52 cents, exceeding S&P Global Market Intelligence's mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of 58 cents. Net income in the second quarter grew by 32% to $1.12 billion from $847 million, while revenue rose 10% to $10.33 billion from $9.37 billion.
* Adidas AG and Beyoncé Knowles unveiled the Adidas x Ivy Park collection, which will launch Jan. 18, 2020, as part of their partnership after Knowles' Parkwood Entertainment LLC bought out retail tycoon Philip Green's stake in their Ivy Park apparel joint venture.
* Ascena Retail Group Inc.'s board approved a 1-for-20 reverse stock split, which took effect Dec. 18. The move will allow the apparel retailer to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rules by maintaining a closing bid price of $1 per share for at least 10 consecutive business days before Jan. 27, 2020.
* Hudson's Bay Co. said CFO Ed Record will return from medical leave and resume his duties, effective Dec. 20, and Becky Roof will step down as interim CFO.
* JD.com Inc.'s supermarket chain 7Fresh launched a 24/7 store called 7Fresh Life in northern Beijing. The site has an in-store dining area and offers fresh produce, grocery items and ready-to-eat food.
* JD.com Inc. teamed up with Lenovo Group Ltd. to sell 10 billion yuan in Lenovo products over the next three years via the e-commerce company's enterprise procurement platform. They also plan to launch a business-to-manufacturer platform to provide customized products and services for clients.
* Compagnie Financière Richemont SA's YOOX Net-A-Porter Group SpA named Fiona Firth as managing director of its Mr Porter brand, reporting to Alison Loehnis, president of the luxury division.
HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL PRODUCTS
* Edgewell Personal Care Co. completed the sale of its infant and pet care business to Le Holding Angelcare Inc. for $122.5 million.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. named Lee Delaney CEO to succeed Christopher Baldwin, who will become executive chairman. It also appointed Burlington Stores Inc. chairman Thomas Kingsbury to its board, replacing exiting director Cameron Breitner. The appointments are effective Feb. 2, 2020.
HOUSEHOLD DURABLES AND SPECIALTY RETAIL
* Household appliances company Helen of Troy Ltd. agreed to acquire Drybar Products LLC, which specializes in hair care and styling products, for approximately $255 million. The deal is expected to close by Jan. 31, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.
* Lowe's Cos. Inc. partnered with software company Yardi Systems Inc. to offer customers the ability to purchase products from its LowesForPros platform, starting January 2020. Through the partnership, customers can also access Lowe's items and services via Yardi's platform.
HOTELS, RESORTS AND CRUISE LINES
* Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. closed the sale of excess parcels in Cancun, Mexico, and in Avon, Colo., for more than $60 million. "This is the first step in our strategy to dispose of $160 million to $220 million of non-strategic assets," John Geller, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer, said in a statement.
* Morguard Corp. agreed to buy out Temple Hotels Inc. for C$2.10 per common share in an all-cash transaction. As of Dec. 19, Morguard owns 54,492,911 Temple shares, representing about 72.6% of the total Temple shares issued and outstanding. The board-approved deal should close no later than March 31, 2020, subject to approval by the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario and other closing conditions.
* Retail sales volume in the U.K. fell 0.6% month over month in November, following a 0.1% dip in October, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Month-over-month sales at food stores and the non-store retailing segment slid 0.2% each while fuel sales and sales at non-food stores ticked down 0.1% each.
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.25% to 27,871.35, and the Nikkei 225 slid 0.20% to 23,816.63.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 inched up 0.19% to 7,588.55, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.61%% to 1,149.96.
On the macro front
The GDP report, the corporate profits report, the personal income and outlays report, the consumer sentiment report, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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