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Coca-Cola ups FY'19 guidance; Danone trims FY'19 sales outlook

TOP NEWS

* Coca-Cola Co. raised its full-year guidance after reporting third-quarter earnings that met Street expectations. For the three months to Sept. 27, adjusted EPS fell 2% year over year to 56 cents, meeting the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate. For the full fiscal 2019 the company now expects organic revenue to grow at least 5% and non-GAAP operating profit to rise 12% to 13%. It maintained its guidance for full-year adjusted EPS to be 1% more or less than in 2018. Shares of Coca-Cola rose 1.6% in premarket trading.

* Shares of Danone SA fell more than 8% after the company lowered its full-year revenue outlook despite reporting a 3% increase in like-for-like third-quarter sales. The French packaged goods producer said it expects full-year sales to grow between 2.5% and 3%, compared to its previous guidance of 3%, but maintained its recurring operating margin outlook at above 15%. It also announced a minority investment in San Francisco-based Forager Project LLC, a producer of plant-based food and beverages.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Walmart Inc.'s U.K supermarket chain Asda Stores Ltd. struck a deal with Rothesay Life PLC to off-load nearly £4 billion of pension liabilities, Sky News reported.

BEVERAGES

* CK Asset Holdings Ltd.'s proposed £2.7 billion takeover of British pub operator Greene King PLC was approved by the European Commission, according to a filing to the London Stock Exchange. The deal's completion is now subject to court sanction, with a hearing scheduled Oct. 29.

* Coca-Cola Co. declared a quarterly dividend of 40 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter, and payable Dec. 16. The soft-drinks giant also elected Gilles Leclerc to its board as vice president. Leclerc is the president of the McDonald's division of Coca-Cola.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* Juul Labs Inc. suspended the sale of its non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavors — including mango, creme, fruit and cucumber — in the U.S. as the U.S. Food Drug and Administration continues to review flavored e-cigarette products. Juul had been selling the flavors exclusively online, having withdrawn them from retail in November 2018.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of lung injuries related to vaping rose to 1,479 as of Oct. 15. Deaths related to e-cigarette use grew to 33 across 24 states.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Tyson Foods Inc. said from February 2020 its Tyson Fresh Meats unit will stop buying hogs raised with feed containing ractopamine, an ingredient that stimulates the amount of lean meat in hogs. Although ractopamine is U.S. FDA-approved, some countries, including China, have banned it, the release noted.

* Qatar-based dairy company Baladna is aiming to raise up to 1.43 billion Qatari riyals in its planned ket listing, the Gulf Times reported, citing the company's IPO prospectus and executives' statement to local reporters. Baladna intends to offer 75% of its stock and use the proceeds to boost its financial position and meet future investments, the newspaper said.

* Italian food retailer Newlat SpA is "very optimistic about the success" of its IPO despite the planned listings of two other Italian companies being recently pulled, Reuters reported, citing Newlat chairman Angelo Mastrolia. The company has attracted international institutional investors but the offer, which will close Oct. 22, is not yet fully covered, Mastrolia added.

* S&P Global Ratings said it believes Nestlé SA has enough headroom in its ratings to absorb its new CHF20 billion share buyback program. Nestlé has an issuer credit rating of AA-.

* Shares of packaged-foods maker Post Holdings Inc.'s nutrition products unit BellRing Brands Inc. closed about 18% higher on its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange. BellRing's Oct. 16 IPO valued it at $480 million.

* Upfield Europe BV, the former Unilever spreads division backed by private equity firm KKR, agreed to acquire Greek plant-based cheese manufacturer ARIVIA SA for an undisclosed sum.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.48% to 26,719.58, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.18% to 22,492.68.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.02% to 7,184.10, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.24% to 1,093.13.

On the macro front

The leading indicators report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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