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China to lower tariffs on pork; vaping websites shut over illicit cartridges

TOP NEWS

* China will lower import tariff rates on 859 product categories including frozen pork and frozen avocados, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, while it aims to complete a phase one trade deal with the U.S., according to a statement released by the Chinese Ministry of Finance.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized the domains of 44 websites advertising the sale of illicit vaping cartridges containing THC as part of an investigation into the supply chain of vaping products. Separately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its investigation of vaping-associated lung injuries identified vitamin E acetate in 48 of 51 patients analyzed across 16 states and showed a decline in the number of emergency department visits.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV said it nominated Frank van Zanten, CEO of Bunzl, to join its supervisory board, effective April 8, 2020.

BEVERAGES

* Italian beverage company Davide Campari-Milano SpA said it inked a deal to acquire its current French distributor, Baron Philippe de Rothschild France Distribution, owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA, for an enterprise value of €60 million. The deal, expected to close during the first quarter of 2020, is subject to customary antitrust approval.

* Shares of U.K. soft drinks maker Nichols PLC fell 16% after it said its full-year 2020 pretax profit could be materially below current expectations due to a 50% excise tax on non-carbonated sweetened drinks in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The company said its 2019 pretax profit is likely to be in line with market expectations, with full-year group sales to be about 4% ahead of last year.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Bunge Ltd. agreed to sell its margarine and mayonnaise businesses in Brazil to Seara Alimentos SA, a unit of Brazilian packaged foods and meats producer JBS SA for 700 million reais. The deal includes three production plants.

* Italy's F.lli Saclà SpA recalled 25 pesto products, including those sold as own brand by Waitrose Ltd and ALDI GmbH & Co. KG, Roth, over fears they may contain undeclared peanuts which could cause allergic reactions.

RESTAURANTS

* The general manager of Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc., McDonald's Corp.'s Latin American franchisee, said the beverage machine at the restaurant where two employees were fatally electrocuted last weekend had experienced an electrical fault but it was not reported to the company's maintenance department, Reuters reported.

* London-based private equity firm Lion Capital LLP plans to sell up to 9.7% of restaurant operator Loungers PLC at a price of 210 pence per share in an accelerated bookbuild, according to a regulatory filing.

* S&P Global Ratings raised its outlook on JAB Holding Co. S.à r.l. to positive from stable and affirmed its A- long-term rating, as well as its ratings on debt issued by the company. The agency said the move was driven by the company's decision to merge its coffee brands Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. and Jacobs Douwe Egberts BV into a single entity, called JDE Peet's, and explore an IPO. The potential IPO would materially increase the liquidity of the assets held by JAB, Ratings said.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Food and beverage stores sales in Canada slid 0.4% in October, data from Statistics Canada showed.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.13% to 27,906.41, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% to 23,821.11.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.46% to 7,617.20, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.07% to 1,153.34.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders report, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the new home sales 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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