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Consumer Cos Up On Strong Builder Permits, Faded Virus Fears -- Consumer Roundup

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02/19/2020 | 05:24pm EDT

Shares of retailers and other consumer companies rose as worries about the coronavirus faded and economic data came in strong.

Housing starts fell by 3.6% in January, but permits to build new houses rose to a 13-year high. Puma and Adidas warned of a hit from the coronavirus on this year's sales, sharpening concerns about how the outbreak is affecting the athletics gear industry that has long looked to China as both a market and a production base.

"Some areas are going to be impacted by the coronavirus," said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at broker dealer Bruderman Brothers. "Broadly speaking, the initial kind of hyperfear surrounding it was overdone."

Investors initially responded as if the outbreak would markedly slow global economic growth. "That's the worry, but, so far, that hasn't materialized in a strong manner," said Mr. Pursche.

Walmart's earnings report showed that its Indian mobile payment business PhonePe is "growing even faster than expected," said analysts at brokerage Morgan Stanley, in a note to clients.

Diageo has agreed to pay $5 million to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it hit performance goals in North America by pressuring distributors to buy products in excess of demand.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares rose a session after the home-goods retailer's earnings report.

Write to Rob Curran at rob.curran@dowjones.com

 

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADIDAS AG 6.13% 200.1 Delayed Quote.-34.94%
DIAGEO PLC 3.89% 2553.5 Delayed Quote.-23.20%
MORGAN STANLEY 9.34% 37.01 Delayed Quote.-33.78%
PUMA SE 6.10% 50.6 Delayed Quote.-30.23%
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