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US online giants to testify vs. French tax; retail stocks up after tariff delay


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US online giants to testify vs. French tax; retail stocks up after tariff delay


* U.S. online companies Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google will be among those that will testify in a hearing against France's 3% digital services tax, Reuters reported, citing testimonies from the companies' tax policy representatives.

* U.S. retail stocks rose after the U.S. delayed the imposition of 10% tariffs on certain Chinese imports until Dec. 15. Shares of footwear giant Nike Inc. were up by 1.8% to $83.11 in midday trading Aug. 13. Shares of Target Corp. rose 3% to $84.51, and Best Buy Co. Inc.'s shares climbed 5.6% to $70.72.


* Ross Stores Inc. named Michael Hartshorn as group president and COO and promoted Michael Kobayashi, its group executive vice president of supply chain, merchant operations and technology, to president of operations and technology. Gary Cribb was also promoted to senior group executive vice president of stores and loss prevention, while Travis Marquette was appointed group senior vice president and CFO. All appointments are effective Aug. 16.

* Superdry PLC appointed Nick Gresham as CFO on a permanent basis. Gresham joined the company as interim CFO in June.

* Allbirds Inc. will launch a range of socks that will be made from sustainable materials and come in three styles, marking the footwear company's debut in the apparel sector, CNBC reported, citing co-founder Tim Brown in an interview.

* New York-based footwear retailer Steven Madden Ltd. acquired women's apparel company BB Dakota for an undisclosed sum.


* Kohl's Corp. will launch a product range called Curated by Kohl's starting mid-October, offering items from emerging brands at its physical and online stores. The department store chain will work with Facebook Inc., beginning 2020, to identify brands that will be featured on the range, which will be updated quarterly.


* Shares of online luxury retailer The RealReal Inc., which debuted on Nasdaq in June, soared 12.41% in after-hours trading Aug. 13 after it reported a 51% year over year jump in revenue to $71 million for the second quarter of 2019. For the three months to June 30, the company posted non-GAAP diluted net loss of 28 cents per share, better than the S&P Global Market Intelligence net loss per share estimate of 31 cents.


* Colgate-Palmolive Co. warned Venezuelan customers about buying fake versions of its toothpaste brands as the country's economy continues to struggle, Reuters reported, citing a company statement. The retail giant reportedly alerted local health authorities about the "commercialization and use of these falsified products." The Venezuelan National Hygiene Institute said some of the Colgate knock-offs do not contain fluoride and may be contaminated, according to the report.


* Cocokara Fine Inc. plans to pursue merger talks with fellow Japanese drug retailer Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co. Ltd. after declining an offer from Sugi Holdings Co. Ltd., the Nikkei Asian Review reported, without disclosing its sources. The deal reportedly can create a new market leader with total sales of nearly ¥1 trillion.


* Costco Wholesale Corp. declared a cash dividend of 65 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter, payable Sept. 13 to shareholders of record Aug. 30.

* Metro AG extended the bidding deadline for its Chinese business until the week of Aug. 19 in order to give interested parties more time for due diligence, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter. Sources said a group including Chinese food startup Meicai and private equity firm Hopu Investments, and another consortium comprising Yonghui Superstores Co. Ltd. and Hillhouse Capital Group, are expected to be among the bidders. A Metro spokeswoman reportedly declined to comment on the auction's status.


* Sports Direct International PLC said Grant Thornton UK LLP will not seek reappointment as its auditor and will cease to hold office, effective Sept. 11.

* Steinhoff International Holdings NV completed its financial restructuring, resulting in changes to its corporate holding structure and the appointment of three nominated directors to its boards, as it continues to recover from the accounting scandal revealed in 2017. The nominated directors are Helen Bouygues, Neil Brown and Paul Soldatos. The embattled retailer is also considering disposing of assets as it still seeks stability.


* Mattel Inc. asked banks to delay its $250 million senior notes offering for a couple of days, downplaying its concern about the anonymous whistleblower letter, Bloomberg News reported, citing people close to company officials. Sources reportedly said the toymaker changed its mind about completely withdrawing the offering after one of the banks involved resisted the postponement as the bonds had already been priced.


* Casino and hotel operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. remains confident in the medium to long term for Macao despite recording flat earnings and a revenue slump in the second quarter of fiscal 2019. For the three months ended June 30, the company's EBITDA came in at HK$4.33 billion, the same as the year-ago figure, while group revenue fell 5% year over year to HK$13.17 billion.

* Gaming Innovation Group Inc. agreed to sell its business-to-consumer brand, Highroller, to Ellmount Gaming Ltd. for €7 million.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng ticked 0.08% higher to 25,302.28, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.98% to 20,655.13.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.97% to 7,180.47, and the Euronext 100 dropped 1.25% to 1,028.66.

On the macro front

The U.S. import and export prices report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report 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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