Once again concern over China’s economy has pulled down stock prices in the U.S. China reported that GDP grew at 6.9 percent in the third quarter, the lowest growth rate since 2009, but better than expected. However, retail sales in China had their best year-over-year growth rate with a 10.9 percent increase.
The S&P 500 was down slightly, falling 7 points to 2,025, the Dow Jones Industrial average is down 56 points to 17,0161 and the Nasdaq is up by 16 points to 4,886.
The European markets are mixed with the U.K. FTSE down by 0.5 percent and France’s CAC down 0.3 percent with L’Oréal moving higher by almost 1 percent. The German DAX is higher by 0.3 percent.
It is a big morning for deals today.
Coty acquired U.K. digital marketing firm Beamly for an undisclosed figure. The acquisition is a significant step for the beauty giant to enhance its digital engagement. Beamly is known as a cutting-edge digital marketing firm that is active across all digital media including online video and social media. Beamly will continue to work with non-Coty accounts, but it will provide Coty with better online marketing campaigns. Coty stock has had a strong year, gaining 73 percent in value over the past 12 months. The company will report its first quarter fiscal 2016 results on November 5. The average earnings estimate is for 28 cents a share and revenue is estimated to be $1.13 billion, a drop of 4.1 percent from last year.
Cherokee Brands said that it was buying the leading flip-flop chain Flip Flop Shops. The franchise has over 90 retail locations globally and is dedicated to offering the latest in flip-flop styles. The plan is to expand the brand with more retail locations and shops-in-shop. Cherokee said in September that Target would not be renewing its license of the Cherokee brand in the U.S., causing the stock to tumble. In the last month, though, the stock has started to inch its way back up, gaining 18 percent in value to trade lately at $18.51.
Oprah Winfrey has invested $43.2 million in order to own 10 percent of Weight Watchers. The media mogul paid $6.79 a share, but the news sent the stock skyrocketing up 75 percent to trade at $11.86 in the early session. Winfrey will be a board member and also act as an adviser. Winfrey will be able to buy an additional 5 percent at the same price of $6.79; but she cannot sell any of the shares for five years. Weight Watchers’ stock has slid by more than 50 percent over the past year as free online fitness and weight loss Web sites have proven to be tough competition.
Wal-Mart is trading slightly lower this morning on reports of paying bribes in India to clear goods through customs or to get real estate permits. The federal probe has been going on for the last three years after it was learned the company spent about $24 million on bribes in Mexico to get permits. The Wall Street Journal reported that the investigation is looking as if there were no major offenses and will probably turn out to be a small case.