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Danone Q3 sales fall 4.4%; Sainsbury-Asda probe to include sale of fuel and toys


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Danone Q3 sales fall 4.4%; Sainsbury-Asda probe to include sale of fuel and toys


* French packaged goods producer Danone said fiscal third-quarter sales for 2018 fell 4.4% as a result of emerging currencies devaluation, but the company reaffirmed its target of reaching double-digit EPS growth for the full year. Danone's third-quarter sales came in at €6.19 billion on a reported basis, down from €6.47 billion in the year-earlier quarter. The third-quarter S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for revenue was €6.24 billion. On a like-for-like basis, sales for the quarter rose 1.4%. The maker of Activia yogurt and Evian mineral water reaffirmed its full-year guidance of targeting double-digit recurring EPS growth for the year, at constant exchange rates and excluding a transaction related to the Yakult product.

* The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said its probe into the proposed merger of supermarkets J Sainsbury PLC and Walmart Inc.-owned Asda Stores Ltd. will include the sale of fuel, toys, small electrical products and children's clothing. The watchdog said it would consider the impact of the deal on suppliers and shoppers, as well as other retailers including Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Co. oHG and Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG. The CMA added that it expects to issue its provisional findings in early 2019 and that the deadline for its final report is March 5, 2019.


* Online grocery delivery company Instacart raised $600 million through a financing round led by D1 Capital Partners, valuing the company at $7.6 billion. Instacart, which offers same-day grocery delivery and serves more than 15,000 grocery stores in 4,000 cities, will use the capital to expand in North America.

* Inc.'s Australian arm launched its Pantry Food and Drinks category that offers a range of grocery items from more than 400 local and international brands on its online marketplace, according to an announcement. Amazon Australia said its customers will now be able to purchase over 80 million pantry items directly from its online portal.

* Walmart Inc. has work to do to integrate Indian retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd., but the Arkansas-based company is still open to deals in the developing world, Walmart President, CEO and Director Douglas McMillon said. Speaking to analysts during a presentation, Douglas McMillon added that Walmart would consider deals that expand its capabilities in India and China. While the Flipkart purchase is weighing on Walmart's earnings outlook, analysts have said the deal will give the retailer a position in another fast-growing e-commerce market.

* Albert Heijn and, wholly owned subsidiaries of Dutch retailer Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV, outlined new joint initiatives to improve customers' online shopping experience on their websites. The new features include a single sign-on service and a combined subscription model.

* Postmates Inc., an on-demand delivery platform, recently interviewed banks as it prepares for its possible IPO, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the development. Postmates founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann reportedly said the company is mulling an IPO in 2019. The Journal added that the food delivery company is expected to choose its underwriters in the coming weeks, the sources said.


* Domino's Pizza Inc. posted diluted EPS of $1.95 in its third fiscal quarter, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for normalized EPS of $1.75. For the quarter ended Sept. 9, the pizza chain's net income was $84.1 million, up from $56.4 million in the year-ago period. Domino's Pizza said the increase was due to higher global royalties and supply-chain volumes. Tax cuts and the sale of 12 company-owned stores to a franchisee also positively affected its net income in the third quarter, the company added.

* Patisserie Holdings PLC, owner of U.K.-based café chain Patisserie Valerie, said its shareholders will have a meeting Nov. 1 to approve an emergency share issue and added that trading will only begin after its ordinary shares "cease to be suspended from trading." The company on Oct. 10 requested that its shares be suspended from trading from London's AIM while it conducts an investigation following the discovery of "significant and potentially fraudulent" accounting.

* Food delivery platform Foodpanda's India operations, owned by Ola Cabs, acquired food tech startup Holachef Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. for an undisclosed amount, India's Mint reported, citing a company statement. Foodpanda reportedly will control Holachef's employees and kitchen equipment, while the founders of the food tech company, Anil Gelra, Gaurav Srivastava and Saurabh Saxen, will join Foodpanda's leadership team.


* The U.S. arm of the Unilever Group, which owns Unilever PLC and Unilever NV, introduced a new probiotic ice cream brand called Culture Republick. The brand collaborates with emerging artists to design every pint in a bid to support local culture, according to the release.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.29% 22,841.12.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,073.55, and Euronext 100 had climbed 0.19% to 1,006.33.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA petroleum status 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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