Update on the latest in business:


Stocks drift lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street, giving back some of their big gains from a day earlier.

The S&P 500 was down 0.5% after earlier flipping between small gains and losses. A day before, it leaped 2.4% for its best performance since June, nearly erasing its entire loss from the week before.

For weeks, the market’s focus has been fixed on the bond market, where a swift recent rise in interest rates is threatening one of the main reasons for the stock market’s run to records through the pandemic. The yield on the 10-year Treasury eased a bit to 1.41%.


Merck to help produce J&J’s new vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly. That’s according to a Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a speech planned by President Joe Biden this afternoon.

Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of its receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday. The company is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further.


Target powers through a pandemic; 2020 sales growth explodes

NEW YORK (AP) — Target will plow $4 billion into its business this year to redo its stores and add new ones as well as speed up its delivery network, as the discounter aims to keep up with increasing demands of its shoppers shaped by the pandemic. The capital investment is up 50% from the previous year.

The moves come as the Minneapolis-based discounter extended its sales streak through the holiday quarter and sales grew by more than $15 billion. That exceeded the company’s annual sales growth over the past 11 years combined.


Kohl’s reports mixed 4Q results but offers upbeat outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl’s reported mixed results for its fiscal fourth quarter, delivering a 30% increase in profits but a 10% drop in sales. The results announced Tuesday handily beat Wall Street estimates.

The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based department store chain also issued per-share forecast for this year whose top range beat analysts’ expectations.

The earnings report comes out as Kohl’s is fighting back against an investor group’s efforts to take control of the department store chain’s board, arguing that it would derail its progress and momentum.


Hertz eyes bankruptcy exit through $4.2 billion stake sale

UNDATED (AP) — In a deal to jettison itself from under bankruptcy protection, Hertz says it may sell a controlling stake in the rental car company to two investment firms for $4.2 billion.

Hertz was among the first major corporations to be felled by the pandemic last year as infections surged and shut down travel on a global scale. The Florida company filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020.

Under the agreement announced Tuesday, Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Opportunities will have the chance to buy the entire company, but no less than a majority of its shares.


US men accused of helping Ghosn flee arrive in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Two Americans suspected of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn skip bail and flee to Lebanon in 2019 were extradited from the U.S. and have arrived in Tokyo.

Michael Taylor and his son, Peter, detained in a Boston jail since last May, were handed over to Japanese custody Monday. Tokyo Deputy Prosecutor Hiroshi Yamamoto said the Taylors were arrested on suspicion of aiding a criminal, and will be held at a Tokyo detention center for questioning.

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, was arrested in 2018 and charged with under-reporting his compensation and breach of trust. He says he is innocent.

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