* U.S. food retailer The Kroger Co. said the company is exploring strategic options for its Turkey Hill beverage and ice cream business, including a potential sale. The Ohio-based company has hired Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC to identify, review and evaluate options for the brand, which offers iced teas, fruit drinks, milk, and a variety of ice cream and frozen dairy treats.
* Amazon.com Inc. rolled out a service that allows Whole Foods Market Inc. customers in Sacramento, Calif., and Virginia Beach, Va., to place their grocery orders online and pick them up "in as little as 30 minutes." Amazon Prime members can place their grocery orders — such as produce, baked goods, dairy, meat, seafood and everyday staples — through the Prime Now app and choose the pickup option at checkout. A Prime Now employee will then load customers' purchases into their car within minutes after they arrive at a reserved pickup spot, according to the release.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* SoftBank Group Corp. is in discussions to investment between $500 million and $750 million in Zume Inc., a startup that makes and delivers fresh pizzas using robots, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the development.
* In a bid to cut back on plastic, Tesco PLC has become the first supermarket among the Big 4 to stock and offer water in aluminum cans, called CanO Water, Retail Gazette reported. The canned water, which comes with resealable lids, will be available in 700 stores and the 500-milliliter cans will be part of Tesco's £3 meal deal, the report said.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned supermarket chain Hema launched a food provenance feature on its mobile app to cover 17 of its stores in Shanghai, allowing its customers to track the journey of their food purchase. Product information including verification such as photographs of the distributor's business licenses and food safety certificates complete with an official government seal can be seen on the app. Other information including harvest and delivery dates and storage temperatures can also be accessed.
* Fast-food chain The Wendy's Co. reported higher-than-expected results in the second quarter as the company's net income came in at $29.9 million, compared with a loss of $5.9 million a year earlier. The company's overall revenue grew about 4% to $411 million, beating the S&P mean consensus of $407.7 million. Same-restaurant sales saw a growth of 1.9% beating the analyst estimates of 1.4%. Adjusted EPS came in at 14 cents, down from 13 cents in the same quarter a year ago.
* After slashing its full-year earnings outlook, Papa John's International Inc. now expects EPS of $1.30 to $1.80, down from its prior guidance of $2.40 to $2.60. Papa John's posted adjusted EPS of 49 cents for the second quarter ended July 1, missing the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for normalized EPS of 54 cents. This compares to a 65-cent adjusted EPS reported in the same quarter in 2017, which ended June 25. The company's second-quarter adjusted net income totaled $15.9 million, missing S&P Global Market Intelligence's consensus estimate for net income excluding exceptions of $17.4 million and lower than the $23.5 million the company reported in the year-ago period.
* YUM! Brands Inc.-owned Pizza Hut's Korean subsidiary launched a trial operation of a robot, dubbed Dilly Plate, Yonhap News Agency reported. The robot, developed by the South Korean startup Woowa Brothers Corp., can serve dishes weighing up to 22 kilograms at a time, the report added.
* U.S. food service provider Aramark disclosed a strategic partnership with Nantucket, Mass.-based Oath Pizza to expand the pizza chain's "guilt-free" brand to new locations nationwide. Oath Pizza, known for making pizza without artificial preservatives, is expected to expand faster under the partnership with new stores opening before the end of the year. As part of the arrangement, Aramark will invest in the pizza restaurant, although the company did not disclose the amount.
* Brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV plans to build a brewery in Mozambique, which will produce over 2 million hectoliters of beer annually, Reuters reported citing Ricardo Tadeu, the company's Africa zone president. The facility will become operational in the second half of 2019. The move is in line with the company's strategy to meet the burgeoning demand in the South African country.
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US to impose 25% tariff on $16B of Chinese goods on Aug. 23
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng climbed 0.39% to 28,359.14, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.08% to 22,644.31.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.86% to 7,785.15, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.04% to 1,081.78.
On the macro front
The MBA mortgage applications report and the EIA Petroleum Status Report are due out today.
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