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Lowe's lays off US store workers; US retail stocks slump on new China tariffs


* Lowe's Cos. Inc. is laying off an undisclosed number of assembly and maintenance workers across its U.S. stores and plans to outsource the positions. "We are moving to third-party assemblers and facility services to allow Lowe's store associates to spend more time on the sales floor serving customers," the company said in a statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

* U.S. retail stocks fell Aug. 1 after President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese imports. Best Buy Co. Inc.'s shares closed down 10.79% to $68.27, while Office Depot Inc.'s shares closed down 8.33% to $1.87. "We are disappointed the administration is doubling down on a flawed tariff strategy that is already slowing U.S. economic growth, creating uncertainty and discouraging investment," the National Retail Federation said in a statement.


* Prada SpA posted diluted EPS for the first half of 2019 of 6.1 euro cents, up 55.7% from 3.9 euro cents in the year-ago period, while net revenue grew 2.3% year over year to €1.57 billion.

* Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. reported a 10% decline in domestic same-store sales in July for its flagship apparel brand Uniqlo due to the unseasonally cool weather throughout the month, resulting in weaker demand for summer clothing.

* H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB is collaborating with Swedish app company Toca Boca AB on a kidswear capsule collection, available in stores and online from Aug. 8.

* Canada Goose Holdings Inc. shares fell about 4.7% after reports surfaced that it removed claims from its website that it sources coyote fur from animals in overpopulated areas, including a video that shows where down for its parkas are sourced, Bloomberg News reported. "The changes to our website were not made at the behest of the [Federal Trade Commission], and the FTC did not reach any conclusions regarding whether any prior statements were misleading," the company reportedly said in response to an article by the New York Post.


* Inc. announced two new renewable energy projects, a wind farm in Cork, Ireland, and a solar farm in Pittsylvania County, Va., both likely to be operational in 2020 and will supply clean energy to the company's Amazon Web Services data centers.

* Wayfair Inc. reported non-GAAP diluted net loss of $1.35 per share for the second quarter of 2019, compared with a loss of 77 cents per share a year ago, compared to the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate of $1.37. The e-commerce company's net revenue increased 42% year over year to $2.34 billion.

* Rakuten Inc. will open a new center for its logistics business in Japan's Narashino City, in the Chiba prefecture, and another one in Yamato City, in the Kanagawa prefecture. Both are expected to be operational by mid-2020.

* DoorDash Inc. will buy Square Inc.'s food delivery platform Caviar for $410 million in cash and DoorDash preferred stock. The California-based on-demand food delivery startup plans to leverage Caviar's outreach and technology to drive the company's growth with this transaction.

* Rakuten Inc. is partnering with KonMari Media Inc. to collaborate on content, branding and promotion of Marie Kondo's tidying philosophy.

* Amazon will disable its press-to-order Dash Buttons globally by the end of August, after canceling sales of the product in late February. An Amazon spokesperson told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an email that customers can continue reordering products using virtual Dash Buttons on the website and mobile app.

* Etsy Inc. said it now expects revenue for full year 2019 to reach $797 million to $809 million, or a growth of 32% to 34%, from the previous guidance of a revenue increase between 30% and 32%. For the second quarter, the New York-based online marketplace operator posted diluted EPS of 14 cents, up from 3 cents in the year-ago period and above the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP EPS estimate of 13 cents.


* Avon Products Inc. reported adjusted diluted EPS of 6 cents for the second quarter of 2019 from a loss of 3 cents in the year prior, despite posting a 13% year-over-year plunge in net revenue to $1.17 billion.

* The Clorox Co. said it expects diluted EPS for full year 2020 to be in the range of $6.30 to $6.50 but guided to a more muted earnings in the first half of the year as the company tries to return to growth in the charcoal and bags and wraps businesses. For the fourth quarter of 2019, the company's diluted EPS came in at $1.88, up 13% from $1.66 in the same period last year and above the S&P Global Market Intelligence estimate for normalized EPS of $1.84.

* Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC made a strategic investment in London-based healthcare startup Your.MD Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. Under their partnership, the two companies aim to expand free, smart self-care solutions worldwide via the Your.MD app.


* Employee-owned supermarket chain Publix Super Markets Inc. reported that net earnings for the second quarter of 2019 grew 7.3% year over year to $661.1 million as revenue increased 6.8% to $9.3 billion from $8.8 billion in the same quarter in 2018.


* Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. launched its new athletic gear and apparel line DSG, to be sold at all of the company's stores and online.

* The Competition and Markets Authority imposed a £3.7 million fine on Casio Computer Co. Ltd. after the antitrust regulator found that the Japanese consumer electronics company breached competition law by restricting retailers to give discounts on its digital pianos and keyboards. In April, the company admitted that between 2013 and 2018, it required retailers to sell its products at or above a minimum price.

* Pets at Home Group PLC now expects fiscal 2020 underlying profit to be slightly above current market expectations, reflecting good growth in its retail business and on-track underlying performance of its Vet Group unit. The company reported a 9.9% increase in group revenue to £303.4 million, with group like-for-like revenue growth of 8% year over year.

* Remington Outdoor Co. Inc. asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a court ruling that allowed families of the victims of the 2012 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., to sue the company over its marketing practices, Reuters reported. "Our state's highest court has already ruled that the families deserve their day in court and we are confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will defer to that well-reasoned opinion," a lawyer for the family members reportedly said.


* Redcape Hotel Group agreed to acquire the Pig 'N' Whistle Hotel, a top-ranking gaming venue in Queensland, for $11.5 million.


* Merlin Entertainments PLC reported adjusted diluted EPS of 2.5 pence for the first half of 2019, down 24.7% from 3.3 pence in the year-ago period. The company's earnings were impacted by increased depreciation charge relating to the significant investment in the business and an increased tax charge due to U.S. legislation.


* Retail sales in Australia rose 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis in June, following a 0.1% rise in May, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The trend estimate rose 0.2% during the month.

* Retail sales volume in the eurozone increased 1.1% month over month in June, after seasonal adjustments, following a 0.3% decrease in May, according to data from the Eurostat.

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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 dipped 2.35% to 26,918.58, and the Nikkei 225 declined 2.11% to 21,087.16.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 1.69% to 7,456.63, and the Euronext 100 was down 2.42% to 1,060.63.

On the macro front

The motor vehicle sales consensus, the employment situation report, the international trade report, the consumer sentiment report, the factory orders 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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