* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a new policy banning unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products except for those flavored to taste like tobacco or menthol. Under the policy, companies that do not stop manufacturing, distributing and selling unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes risk FDA enforcement actions. Unauthorized flavored open-tank vaping devices that do not use cartridges or pods are not being targeted by the new enforcement policy. The FDA is expected to begin enforcing the new policy in February or 30 days after the new rule publishes in the Federal Register.
* Packaged food company Conagra Brands Inc. said it has completed the sale of its Lender's Bagel business to baked goods and snacks maker Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION
* U.K. grocer Asda Stores Ltd. rolled out a new plant-based range, which offers 48 products such as chilled and frozen prepared meals, snacks and food-to-go items. The products launched Jan. 2, and are available in-store and online.
* Marks & Spencer Group PLC announced the appointment of David Surdeau as its interim CFO, following the departure of Humphrey Singer in September 2019. The appointment is effective Jan. 7.
* Bottled water provider Cott Corp. said its Eden Springs unit acquired Netherlands-based e-commerce platform Watercooler Gigant from Leylines BV. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS
* E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. said it fully understands the "urgent need to continue resetting the vapor category," following the U.S. FDA's decision to ban unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products, other than tobacco or menthol. British American Tobacco PLC also welcomed the decision, adding that its U.S. unit, Reynolds American Inc., is set to comply with the new guidelines.
* Agribusiness Bunge Ltd. said it sold its stake in an Iowa ethanol plant to Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy on Dec. 31, 2019.
* Natural ingredients producer Darling Ingredients Inc. said it acquired the remaining 50% joint venture interest of plant and animal feeds producer EnviroFlight LLC owned by Intrexon Corp. for $12.2 million. The deal gives Ingredion 100% ownership interest in EnviroFlight.
* Chicken restaurant chain Wingstop Inc. said Executive Vice President and COO Lawrence Kruguer will step down, effective March 7.
* The global retail and restaurant sector corporate defaults totaled 16 in 2019, second to oil and gas, which led with 20, according to S&P Global Ratings.
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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 declined 0.32% to 28,451.50.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.46% to 7,569.23, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.66% to 1,150.59.
On the macro front
The motor vehicles sales report, the ISG Manufacturing Index, the construction spending report, the EIA Natural Gas 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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