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Japan Tobacco domestic sales drop in September; Just Eat Q3 revenue up 25% YOY

TOP NEWS

* Japan Tobacco Inc.'s domestic cigarette sales declined 21.3% year over year in September to ¥44.2 billion from ¥56.2 billion. In September, Japan Tobacco sold 6.8 billion cigarettes, down 27.3% from 9.4 billion sold in the year-ago period.

* U.K.-based online food delivery company Just Eat PLC reaffirmed its full-year 2019 guidance, as it reported a 25% growth in third-quarter revenue to £247.5 million. For the three months ended Sept. 30, group orders rose 16% to 62 million. Just Food also said it expects the completion of its planned merger with peer Takeaway.com NV by year-end.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Retail warehouse operator Costco Wholesale Corp. announced a regular quarterly dividend of 65 cents per common share, payable Nov. 15 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 1.

* British food retailer Waitrose Ltd. and parent John Lewis Partnership PLC will switch to Christmas crackers filled with items made from recyclable materials in 2020 to reduce single-use plastics, The Guardian reported. The retailer has also reportedly cut its use of glitter by two-thirds in its own-brand Christmas wrapping paper, gift bags and tags, advent calendars, and crackers.

* Indebted gourmet food chain Dean & DeLuca Brands Inc.'s parent, Pace Development Corp. PCL, has defaulted on a 2.6 billion Thai baht loan owed to one of Thailand's top banks, Bloomberg News reported. The company reportedly plans to accelerate its financial restructuring and debt management process, after it closed its flagship store in Manhattan, N.Y., earlier in October.

* Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA-owned Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição, or GPA, published its final tender offer terms for acquiring shares in Colombian retailer Almacenes Éxito SA at the price of 18,000 Colombian pesos per share. In a filing, GPA said Exito shareholders will have between Oct. 28 and Nov. 19 to accept the offer from its operational subsidiary Sendas Distribuidora SA.

BEVERAGES

* French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the country may lose as much as €300 million in exports in 2020 due to trade conflict with the U.S. over aircraft subsidies, Bloomberg News reported.

* Australian distiller and vintner Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. CEO Michael Clarke will retire from his position in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 to spend time with his family. COO Tim Ford will replace Clarke, who will continue to serve as an adviser to the company for up to one year after his retirement.

* French liqueur company Rémy Cointreau SA reported a 0.6% year-over-year decline in its total sales during the first half of fiscal 2020 to €523.9 million from €527 million, as sales of its Rémy Martin brand were affected by the fall in tourism in Hong Kong. The company expects that the termination of distribution contracts with its partner brands in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the U.S. would have an impact of €56 million on sales and €5 million on current operating profit for the full fiscal year.

* S&P Global Ratings raised Pernod Ricard SA's long-term issuer rating to BBB+ from BBB, with a stable outlook, as the rating agency expects the French liquor-maker to maintain resilient performance, supported by positive growth in volumes, prices and product mix. Separately, Moody's also upgraded Pernod Ricard's long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings to Baa1 from Baa2 and maintained its outlook at stable, citing the company's track record of strong profit growth.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Agribusiness Cargill Inc. expects to resume production at its Dodge City, Kan., beef plant early next week after operations were halted due to an explosion Oct. 17, Reuters reported, citing a company representative.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he will never allow the production of e-cigarettes in the country, saying tobacco companies were "getting rich by poisoning" people, Reuters reported, citing the president's speech during an event. According to the report, vaping is not illegal in Turkey, but the distribution or purchasing of e-cigarettes is.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Breakfast-cereal maker Kellogg Co. declared a quarterly dividend of 57 cents per share, payable Dec. 16 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 2.

* Indian consumer goods conglomerate ITC Ltd. has earmarked 7 billion Indian rupees to set up a food processing plant in the state of Madhya Pradesh, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing ITC Chairman Sanjiv Puri. Puri reportedly added that the company will start working with farmers to develop high yielding beans and carrots and that operations will commence at the facility soon.

* Italian food group Newlat SpA has received sufficient orders to cover its planned €200 million IPO, Reuters reported, citing two sources. The news comes a day after Newlat said it is "very optimistic about the success" of its listing.

RESTAURANTS

* Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A Inc. will close its first U.K. outlet in Reading amid a row over millions of dollars in donations to organizations that are allegedly anti-LGBT, BBC News reported. The Atlanta-based restaurant company did not reportedly comment on the matter, but previously said: "We have never donated with the purpose of supporting a social or political agenda."

* Inspire Brands Inc., the owner of Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco fast-food chains, said it completed its previously announced acquisition of Illinois-based Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* The U.K. government has confirmed that it will waive the new import certification requirements for wines from the EU in the nine months following any no-deal Brexit, the Financial Times reported. The new rules reportedly would not be applicable during the transition period up to December 2020.

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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 0.08% to 26,740.24, while the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.25% to 22,548.90.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.12% to 7,159.47, while the Euronext 100 was up 0.14% to 1,090.88.

On the macro front

No notable reports 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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