* Nike Inc. posted double-digit revenue gains in its second fiscal quarter of 2019 that pushed diluted EPS and net income above analysts' estimates. The sportswear company reported diluted EPS of 52 cents for the three months ended Nov. 30, a 13% increase from the same quarter a year ago that beat the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of 46 cents. Net income rose 10% year over year to $847 million, driven by strong revenue growth and gross margin expansion, Nike said. The mean consensus analyst estimate for GAAP net income was $734.3 million, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
* Consumer confidence in the U.K. has slipped to a five-year low in December, dropping to negative 14 from negative 13 in November, amid uncertainty related to Brexit, The Guardian reported, citing market research firm GfK. The GfK index, used by the European Commission to judge consumer sentiment, also showed that shoppers were worried about the economy rather than their personal finances.
TEXTILES, APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS
* British luxury label Burberry Group PLC appointed Rod Manley as chief marketing officer, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Most recently, Manley was executive vice president of marketing and communications at lifestyle brand Calvin Klein Inc.
* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB said Finnish renewable solutions provider Stora Enso Oyj has joined TreeToTextile AB, a sustainable initiative of H&M, Inter Ikea Holding SA and SunPine AB founder Lars Stigsson. TreeToTextile's process involves developing textile fibers from renewable forest raw materials. Stora Enso will set up a demonstration plant at one of its facilities to support the industrialization of the production process, with both H&M and Ikea looking to use the fiber in their products.
* Japanese retail company Aeon Co. Ltd. said it will acquire a 7.5% stake in German e-commerce company Signa Sports United GmbH, which operates about 80 online shops in 17 countries. The investment will allow Aeon to leverage Signa Sports' knowledge in creating a "strong" e-commerce platform.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said Swiss luxury goods maker Compagnie Financière Richemont SA joined the Chinese e-commerce company's Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, which works to protect brands' intellectual property rights on its platforms. Richemont will support the alliance by sharing its technology, expertise and other information, according to the release.
* Amazon.com Inc. said it will lower fees for its third-party sellers, including canceling long-term storage fees and cutting the minimum long-term storage fee to 15 cents per unit from 50 cents. The company said both changes are effective Feb. 15, 2019.
* Amazon said it is expanding its partnership with Air Transport Services Group Inc. by leasing 10 more aircrafts to support its delivery service. The additional cargo planes will join the retailer's operations in the next two years. Amazon added that it will launch in a regional air hub at Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Texas in 2019 and will open another air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Kentucky in 2021.
* Nestlé SA is in early stages of talks to buy a controlling stake in Canada-based Champion Petfoods LP, the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the development. Nestlé and Champion reportedly declined to comment on the matter. In July, The Wall Street Journal Journal reported that the Swiss food giant was looking to buy a majority stake in the pet food company. However, discussions fell through.
HYPERMARKETS AND SUPERCENTERS
* Supermarket chain Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA said it formed a strategic alliance with French computing company Qarnot Computing to install and operate new-generation data centers at Groupe Casino's storerooms and warehouses. Under the partnership, the food retailer plans to reduce costs by reusing the warmth from the servers to heat the facilities that house its data centers, as well as to generate additional revenue by renting out available space.
* Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA said it completed the previously announced sale of real estate assets from its Monoprix portfolio for €742 million, with a total annual rent of €35.4 million. The supermarket chain added that it sold 53 Monoprix assets to Generali and 14 sites to SGAM AG2R La Mondiale.
* U.K. grocer J Sainsbury PLC said it partnered with retail service company Timpson Group PLC to offer barbershop services at two Sainsbury's stores for the Christmas season. The supermarket operator added that it will roll out the service to more of its stores in 2019 if customers respond positively to it.
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 51% to 25,753.42, while the Nikkei 225 was down 1.11% to 20,166.19.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.27% to 6,693.58, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.52% to 905.98.
On the macro front
The Durable Goods Orders report, the Gross Domestic Product 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 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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