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Whole Foods workers aim to unionize; Third Point seeks to replace Campbell board

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Whole Foods workers aim to unionize; Third Point seeks to replace Campbell board


* Whole Foods Market Inc. employees want to unionize to push for better compensation, benefits and profit-sharing from the food retailer and its parent, Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an email from a group of workers. A Whole Foods spokesperson said the company offers "competitive wages and benefits" and encourages employees to voice their concerns with their managers. The news comes after Amazon, known for opposing organizing efforts in the past, called Senator Bernie Sanders' claims of poor worker conditions in its fulfillment centers "inaccurate and misleading."

* Activist investor Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC is seeking to launch a proxy battle with Campbell Soup Co. in order to replace the entire board of the company, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. The activist investor could reportedly announce its slate this week. Campbell told S&P Global Market Intelligence that it would not comment on rumors or speculation.


* U.K. supermarket chain Asda Stores Ltd. said it will end its Asda Price Guarantee program Oct. 3. The scheme promised customers that shopping in Asda would be 10% cheaper than the other big supermarkets. If it was not, the grocer would refund the difference. The Walmart Inc.-owned retailer, which aims to merge with J Sainsbury PLC, said it is ending the program because it is no longer relevant to its customers, with less than 1% of shoppers using it.

* Wal-Mart de México SAB de CV said its consolidated sales in August grew 7.8% year over year to 48.89 billion Mexican pesos. The Mexican subsidiary of U.S. retail giant Walmart said total sales in Mexico jumped 7.5% year over year to 40.08 billion pesos from 37.3 billion pesos in the year-ago period. Comparable store sales were up 5.9%.


* The Indian unit of PepsiCo Inc. aims to install machines that can crush plastic bottles across the state of Maharashtra over the next two years to improve its plastic waste management process, The Economic Times of India reported. The beverage giant plans to roll out the machines across 36 districts of the Indian state as it aims to recycle 6,500 tonnes of plastic bottles within the first year of its implementation, the report added.


* Carlsberg A/S CEO Cees 't Hart said he is set to seek merger opportunities in the countries the company operates in and plans to foray into new markets in the next three to five years, Bloomberg News reported. Citing 't Hart, the report added that the Danish brewer, which is still eyeing an expansion in Vietnam, now has money to spend on mergers and deals.

* Nestlé SA's unit Nestlé Nespresso SA said it will invest in Zimbabwe and provide training and technical assistance to 400 smallholder coffee farmers over the next five years in a bid to revive the country's coffee industry. Nespresso, which is already working with farmers for the next harvest, aims to buy more than 95% of the coffee production of Zimbabwean smallholders this season.

* U.K.-based The Lakes Distillery Co. Ltd. said it is "exploring the opportunity" to list on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market to raise up to £15 million from its IPO. The company, which produces single malt whisky, plans to list by the latter part of 2018. CEO Nigel Mills said it is exploring an IPO as a source of capital to help the company increase its production significantly.

* Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. partnered with startup Luckin Coffee to launch a platform, with pre-ordering and delivery functions, on the Tencent-owned app WeChat. According to an email sent to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Tencent and Luckin Coffee are also planning to add social and personalization features, which include mini-games and a personalized menu, on its platform. The announcement comes less than a month after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s unit signed a strategic partnership with Starbucks Corp. to deliver orders to customers in China.


* China reported four additional cases of African swine fever, bringing the total case count to 13 since it was first reported in the country, according to Reuters. The country's agriculture ministry said the recent outbreak was reported at three farms in Jiamusi, in the Heilongjiang province in northeast China, and the cities of Wuhu and Xuancheng, in the eastern province of Anhui. Before the three cases were identified, the ministry reported a case in the city of Chuzhou, which is also in Anhui.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased 0.01% to 26,973.47, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.80% to 22,307.06.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.85% to 7,256.55, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.20% to 1,025.18.

On the macro front

The employment situation report, the quarterly services survey, the Treasury STRIPS report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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