Stock Market Today: A Buyout for A-B InBev and a Solid Quarter for Unilever

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Expect a strong start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) gained 65 points, or about 0.4%, in premarket trading this morning. The Federal Reserve is set to announce a second cut to its bond-buying stimulus program next week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported this morning that, despite December's mixed jobs report, the central bank's officials are gaining confidence that economic growth is picking up. Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in today's session, including Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD  ) , Unilever (NYSE: UL  ) , and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) .

InBev wants its Asian brewery back. The global beer company announced over the weekend that it purchased Oriental Brewery, the leading brewer in South Korea, for $5.8 billion. Inbev sold off the company in 2009 in a deal that allowed for its reacquisition by July of this year. The pricey deal will mean that InBev's debt levels should stay above management's target through 2014. Still, in exchange for the added leverage the company gets a foothold in a region that's seeing much stronger sales growth than the United States. InBev's stock is up 2.9% in premarket trading.

Unilever's stock is up 4% in premarket trading after the consumer goods company today reported strong fourth-quarter earnings results. Sales grew by 4.1% and operating profit jumped by 8%, as the company expanded profitability across all of its geographic regions and product categories. Unilever saw more weakness in developed markets including the United States and Europe, which it expects to continue into 2014. Still, an 8.4% jump in emerging markets sales picked up most of that slack.

Finally, Verizon this morning booked earnings results for its fiscal fourth quarter. The wireless giant said sales grew by 3% to $31.1 billion and adjusted profit jumped by 74%, to $0.66 a share. Both the top-line and bottom-line results were slightly ahead of analysts' expectations. A healthy spike in wireless revenue boosted Verizon's earnings, as its average subscriber now pays more than $117 a month -- 10.8% more than last year. As for 2014, the company is looking forward to closing its acquisition of the rest of that wireless business, which it described as "the best asset in the global wireless industry." Verizon's stock is up 0.8% in premarket trading.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos

Demitrios covers consumer goods and media companies for, as well as broader moves in the economy.

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8/28/2015 4:55 PM
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