STOCKS NEWS US-Feb retail sales beat expectations: TR data

Fri Mar 6, 2009 12:46pm GMT

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U.S. stock market report [.N] 0740 ET 06March2009-Feb retail sales beat expectations: TR data ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomson Reuters late Thursday said that its same-store sales index rose 0.3 percent in February, more than expected and "the first positive same store sales month we've seen over the last five months."

The expectation was for a decline of 1.2 percent in comparable sales.

In the index, 16 of the covered companies beat expectations while 12 performed below consensus.

While the index did outperform expectations, much of the strength came from Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N), the world's largest retailer, and a discount store that has seen brisk business as customers strive to save money in the recession.

"If Wal-Mart is excluded from the index," Thomson Reuters wrote in a note, "the mean decreases to an anemic minus 4.7 percent, which is below the 1.8 percent result registered in February 2008. This suggests that, with the exception of Wal-Mart, most retailers posted considerably weaker comps compared to February 2008."

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0730 ET 06March2009-Morningstar looking to make non-U.S. acquisitions ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Investment research firm Morningstar (MORN.O) on Friday said it may use part of its cash holdings to make acquisitions, with an eye on overseas assets as it looks to build a business that is less dependent on the U.S. economy.

The company, which earns three-quarters of its revenues in the U.S. has about $300 million in cash holdings.

Morningstar said it also was open to using the holdings to pay dividends or repurchase shares, though acquisitions were its priority. [ID:nBOM490766]

Shares of Morningstar closed Thursday at $28.08.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0725 ET 06March2009-Crude oil up on weaker dollar, upcoming OPEC meet ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

April crude futures edged higher on Friday, following a sharply downward session on Thursday. The oil market was lifted on Friday by a weaker U.S. dollar, and ahead of an OPEC meeting later this month.

For details, see [ID:nSP482596] CLc1

The contract rose 1.6 percent to $4.31 a barrel.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0719 ET 06March2009-Qwest's Nacchio requests retrial on evidence ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joseph Nacchio, the former chief executive of Qwest Communications (Q.N), late Thursday asked for a retrial, citing newly discovered evidence.

Nacchio was convicted on 19 counts of insider trading, and was recently ordered to report to jail on March 23.

In the motion for a retrial, Nacchio's lawyers said new testimony from ex-Chief Financial Officer Robin Szeliga had come to light in a deposition. [ID:nN05362214]

Shares of Qwest closed Thursday at $3.14.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 0715 ET 06March2009-Coca-Cola to invest $2 bln in Chinese plant ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Soft drink company Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) on Friday said it would invest $2 billion in new plant and distribution infrastructure in China over the next three years. It will also speed up development to ensure products suit local tastes.

The investment is in addition to the $2.4 billion Coke has already committed to a takeover bid for Huiyuan Juice Group. [ID:nHKG181914]

Shares of Coke, a Dow component, closed Thursday at $37.85.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net

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