Commodities: Consumer Cos Down Amid Holiday Shopping Concerns — Consumer Roundup

Shares of retailers and other consumer-services companies ticked down amid concerns about the outlook for off-Internet holiday spending. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer by sales, said it will shorten its legal name to Walmart Inc., in a move that reflects its two-fronted war against increasingly powerful competitor Amazon.com.

In a good sign for Friday’s Labor Department report, a survey from payroll processor Automatic Data Processing and credit firm Moody’s Analytics estimated that private employers across the country added 190,000 workers to their ranks in November.

One brokerage said the housing market has room to run, even after a strong couple of years for home prices. “We estimate there are five years left in the cyclical housing recovery with industry growth averaging about 10% compound-annual-growth-rate through 2022 (slower growth would stretch out the length of recovery and vice versa),” said analysts at brokerage Nomura Securities, in a research note. “We expect housing activity will match our definition of normalized long-term housing demand of about 1.4 million units in 2018 and then follow with a typical overshoot to counterbalance the nearly 2 million home shortfall produced during the post-downturn credit crunch.”

Retail giant Steinhoff International Holdings, which owns American mattress brand Sleepy’s and a string of chains across Europe, said its chief executive has resigned amid an investigation into accounting irregularities.

-Rob Curran, [email protected]

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