* Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA said it expected moderate earnings growth in 2019 after it posted third-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' expectations. Its share price fell 9% in midday trading. For the three months ended Sept. 30, normalized profit attributable to equity holders of the company rose to $2.41 billion from a restated profit of $1.52 billion in the prior-year period. The figure missed the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for adjusted net profit of $2.50 billion.
* Beyond Meat Inc. named Coca-Cola Co. executive Stuart Kronauge its chief marketing officer, effective January 2020. The plant-based-meat producer also appointed Nike Inc. executive Marc Patrick as its senior vice president of marketing, as well as Shira Zackai as vice president and head of communications.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* Amazon.com Inc. reported third-quarter 2019 diluted EPS and net income that missed analysts' expectations, but the e-commerce giant's revenue grew 24% year over year. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company's diluted EPS fell year over year to $4.23 from $5.75. The figure missed the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of $4.55.
* South Korean retailer GS Retail has suspended sales of four flavored e-cigarettes — three of which are produced by Juul Labs Inc. and one by local company KT&G Corp. — from its GS25 convenience store chain after the country's government issued a warning against vaping, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing a company statement.
* Food and beverage kiosk operator Fruitas Holdings Inc. has received approval from the Philippine Stock Exchange for its November IPO, BusinessWorld reported. The company reportedly plans to raise 1.2 billion Philippine pesos by offering 533.7 million of its common shares.
* Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC Ltd., AB InBev's Asian subsidiary, posted a 23.5% third-quarter profit drop due to beer volume decline in its China and South Korea markets and a one-time IPO charge. The brewer that went public in Hong Kong on Sept. 30 reported that profit attributable to equitable holders fell year over year to $251 million from $328 million.
* Ambev SA, AB InBev's Brazilian unit, reported third-quarter normalized EPS of 15 Brazilian centavos, down 17.8% from 18 centavos in the year-ago period and missing the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate of 17 centavos, with five analysts reporting. During the three-month period, normalized profit also declined 15.8% year over year to 2.44 billion reais from 2.90 billion reais, due to higher income taxes.
* Becle SAB de CV, the producer of Jose Cuervo tequila brands, said its consolidated net income for the third quarter of 2019 rose 91% year over year to 728 million Mexican pesos from 381 million pesos. Volume increased 6.8% on an underlying basis to 5.3 million nine-liter cases, boosted by growth across all regions.
* Irish cider and spirits producer C&C Group PLC reported a 3.9% year-over-year rise in fiscal 2020 first-half adjusted diluted EPS to 16 euro cents from 15.4 cents. For the six months ended Aug. 31, the company posted 13.5% growth in net revenue to €874.9 million from €770.6 million.
* Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. will focus on alcohol-free beers to drive profit in the coming years, CEO Akiyoshi Koji told Reuters in an interview. Koji added that the company will focus on normalizing its balance sheet before making any major investments, following its agreement to acquire AB InBev's Carlton & United Breweries for A$16 billion.
* Agribusiness Cargill Inc. said it is investing $35 million in Europe to introduce a new product line of soluble fibers, adding to its current portfolio of starches, sweeteners and texturizers. The range is expected to be launched in 2021.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* India-based tobacco producer ITC Ltd. posted better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2020 as revenue climbed across all its business segments. ITC said diluted EPS for the three months to Sept. 30 came in at 3.27 Indian rupees, up from 2.40 rupees in the year-ago period and above the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of 3.05 rupees.
* Swedish Match AB (publ), the producer of General snus smokeless tobacco products, reported a 27% year-over-year rise in third-quarter EPS to 7.04 Swedish kronor from 5.55 kronor a year ago. For the three months ended Sept. 30, group sales grew 13% to 3.83 billion kronor from 3.39 billion kronor in the prior-year period, primarily boosted by increased sales of snus, moist stuff products and nicotine pouches in the U.S.
* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that lung injury cases possibly linked to vaping rose to 1,604 across 49 states, as of Oct. 22. Deaths related to e-cigarette use grew to 34 across 24 states, the CDC said.
* Norway's Orkla ASA posted adjusted EPS of 1.18 Norwegian kroner for the third quarter, up 11% from 1.06 kroner in the year-ago period. During the quarter, the packaged food producer's profit decreased by 6% to 941 million kroner from 1.04 billion kroner in the prior-year period, due to write-downs in its care segment.
* Italy's Newlat SpA has closed institutional offering for its IPO in Milan, pricing its stock at €5.80 apiece, the bottom end of its proposed price range. The dairy and wheat producer said the entire 12.7 million shares in the offering were subscribed for and that the 1.27 million shares of the greenshoe option were entirely placed.
* Philadelphia-based meat processor Pennexx Foods Inc. acquired prepaid debit card cryptocurrency company Triple 888's Logistics Inc. and the intellectual property of the BitGift prepaid cryptocurrency gift card for an undisclosed sum.
* Danish dairy company Arla Foods said it will invest about €50 million over the next two to three years to increase production capacity at its newly inaugurated cheese production site in Bahrain. The site, which will create 100 jobs during that time, will cater to increasing demands for dairy products in the Middle East and North Africa region.
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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 down 0.49% to 26,667.39, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.22% to 22,799.81.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.56% to 7,287.66, and the Euronext 100 down 0.45% to 1,094.03.
On the macro front
The consumer sentiment report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report and the Treasury budget 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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