* India is set to impose new operational restrictions on e-commerce companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd., effective Feb. 1, 2019, Reuters reported. Under the regulations, online retailers will not be allowed to sell merchandise from companies in which they hold a stake. They will also be prohibited from making exclusive deals with select sellers. However, e-commerce operators will be able to make bulk purchases through wholesale-focused or other subsidiaries.
* Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co. Ltd. is set to roll out an app-based proprietary mobile payment service, dubbed Famipay, in July 2019, Nikkei Asian Review reported. The cashless system was developed by a joint venture between FamilyMart and its parent company Itochu Corp. The service, which will be available across the chain's 17,000 convenience stores, requires customers to download an app that will display QR codes for cashiers to scan.
* U.S. coffee giant Starbucks Corp. is re-releasing its popular tuxedo collection of drinks from 2017 across its stores in the U.S. and Canada, starting Dec. 26 through the New Year, USA Today reported. The trio of black-and-white limited-edition beverages includes Black and White Hot Cocoa, Black and White Mocha and Black and White Frappuccino, the report said.
* Poultry producer Pt Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Group's shares have more than doubled this year, following a hike in day-old chicken prices in Indonesia, Bloomberg reported. CP Indonesia is expected to book a record profit in 2018, with its highest net profit margin in five years, the report added, citing its analyst estimates. Agricultural products producer PT Malindo Feedmill Tbk and animal feed producer PT Japfa Comfeed Indonesia Tbk's share prices also gained over 50% each, while the national benchmark Jakarta Composite Index has declined 3.6%, the report said.
* Hindustan Unilever Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of Unilever NV, said it is considering "legal options" after the goods and services tax, or GST, anti-profiteering authority, the National Anti-profiteering Authority, or NAA, alleged that the company did not pass a GST tax rate cut benefit of 3.83 billion rupees to its customers, India's Business Standard reported. The company said that although this move is compliant with Unilever's policy, "no methodology has been determined by NAA as required under law to determine if benefit has been passed or not." In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Board of India, it said it will consider legal options available to it, given that there is divergence on some basic issues, the report added.
* Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said the country is ready to increase wheat and meat exports to Thailand, Reuters reported, citing a TASS news agency report. Russia, according to Manturov, sees big potential in the agriculture sector for increasing mutual trade revenue and is ready to boost exports of its produce, particularly wheat and meat, the report added.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Nikkei 225 increased 3.88% to 20,077.62, while Hang Seng fell 0.67% to 25,478.88.
In Europe as of midday, FTSE 100 was down 0.92% to 6,624.73 and Euronext 100 fell 0.15% to 896.32.
On the macro front
The jobless claims report, the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price index, the consumer confidence report, the farm prices report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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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