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Heineken YTD net profit up 4.4%; McDonald's Q3'19 EPS misses Street

TOP NEWS

* Heineken NV reported a 4.4% year-over-year increase in net profit to €1.67 billion for the first nine months of 2019 as third-quarter beer volumes grew in all markets apart from the Americas. For the three months to Sept. 30, beer volume grew 2.3% year over year on an organic basis to 64.2 million hectoliters, driven by a 7.4% advance in the Heineken brand. The company said it expects full-year operating profit growth to be about 4%, having previously stated it would be in the mid-single digits.

* McDonald's Corp. shares closed down 5% after it reported third-quarter sales and diluted EPS that fell below Street expectations. The restaurant chain posted diluted EPS for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of $2.11, slightly up from $2.10 in the year-ago period and below the S&P Global Market Intelligence GAAP EPS estimate for the quarter of $2.22.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* The Unilever Group's ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. and Washington-based beverage retailer Baristas Coffee Co. Inc. will launch a U.S. delivery network for their products in November, starting in Seattle before expanding nationwide.

* Spain's High Court will investigate L1 Retail's bid for Madrid-based supermarket chain Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación SA, or Dia, over concerns that Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman acted to depress its share price ahead of his bid for the company, Reuters reported, citing a court document. L1 Retail, the retail division of Fridman's LetterOne Holdings SA fund, took control of Dia in May.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Australian arm launched Subscribe and Save, a service that offers customers a 10% discount and free delivery on repeat orders across a variety of products.

* French food retailer Carrefour SA reaffirmed the targets in its Carrefour 2022 transformation plan after reporting that 2019 third-quarter like-for-like sales grew 2.3% to €20.20 billion. During the quarter, food e-commerce sales grew more than 30%, while the French hypermarket category saw a 3.6% decline in like-for-like sales.

* Takeaway.com NV CEO Jitse Groen restated his backing for the company's all-share merger with British peer Just Eat PLC after the latter rejected an unsolicited offer from Naspers' Prosus NV. In a statement, Groen said the combined entity will be a "global leader" in the food delivery space.

* Uber Technologies Inc.'s Uber Eats teamed up with U.K.-based convenience store chain Costcutter Supermarkets Holdings Ltd. to enable more than 1,700 shops sell items through its app, The Telegraph reported, citing U.K. general manager for Uber Eats Toussaint Wattinne.

BEVERAGES

* Australia-based Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. said it sold its inactive Port Road Thebarton bottling facility to local developer Australasian Property Developments Pty. Ltd. Financial terms were not disclosed.

* Brewer Ambev SA will launch its canned water brand, AMA, across Brazil by the end of 2019, following parent Anheuser-Busch InBev SA's push to adopt more sustainable practices, Reuters reported, citing Richard Lee, Ambev's head of sustainability.

* Coffee giant Starbucks Corp. expanded its delivery service with Uber Eats to five new U.S. markets — Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia and New Jersey — and extended it in the New York Metro area.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Singaporean food and agri-business Olam International Ltd. agreed to acquire California-based almond producer Hughson Nut Inc. for an enterprise value of $54 million.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Swedish Match AB's U.S. arm to market its snus smokeless tobacco products as less harmful to consumers. The authorization is limited to five years and covers eight of the company's snus smokeless tobacco products sold under the General brand.

* South Korea is urging people to avoid using liquid e-cigarettes, describing them "a serious risk to public health," and intends to tighten regulation of such products, Reuters reported, citing the country's health minister Park Neung-hoo.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Italian dairy and wheat producer Newlat SpA reduced its IPO to up to 12.7 million shares from a maximum of 17 million shares. Newlat also extended the offer period to Oct. 24 from the prior Oct. 22 deadline "to allow the institutional investors most recently met to participate in the institutional offering."

RESTAURANTS

* Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. expects to be at the higher end of its comparable restaurant sales guidance for fiscal 2019 as it reported strong third-quarter performance. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Chipotle's adjusted diluted EPS grew 76.9% year over year to $3.82, higher than the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate of $3.22.

* Fuller Smith & Turner PLC agreed to acquire boutique hotel operator Cotswold Inns & Hotels Ltd. for a total consideration of £40 million. The London-based pub owner expects the acquisition to be earnings-accretive in the first year.

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McDonald's testing plant-based burgers as US sales miss Q3 expectations

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng shed 0.82% to 26,566.73, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.34% to 22,625.38.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.08% to 7,217.66, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.66% to 1,085.66.

On the macro front

The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the U.S. Energy Information Administration 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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