Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks move higher on Wall Street after 3 days of losses

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were moderately higher in afternoon trading Thursday, putting the market on pace to break a three-day losing streak. Investors were encouraged by the latest jobs data that showed fewer Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, another sign that the economic recovery is underway. The S&P 500 index was up 1%. Technology and communications stocks led the broad gains. Oil prices fell and dragged down energy stocks. Oatly, the largest maker of oat milk in the world, rose sharply on its first day of trading. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.63%.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

US jobless claims fall again as some states end federal aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 444,000, a new pandemic low and a sign that the job market keeps strengthening as consumers spend freely again, viral infections drop and business restrictions ease. Today’s report from the Labor Department shows that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 478,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has declined steadily since the year began.

MORTGAGE RATES

US average mortgage rates rise; 30-year loan at 3%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates rose this week, pushing the benchmark 30-year home loan to the 3% mark for the first time since mid-April. Signs continued of the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession and a burst of inflation rattled stock markets. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average for the benchmark 30-year home-loan rate increased to 3% from 2.94% last week. At this time last year, the long-term rate was 3.24%. The rate for a 15-year loan, popular among those seeking to refinance, rose to 2.29% from 2.26% from last week.

OATLY-IPO

Warm welcome for oat milk maker Oatly in Wall Street debut

UNDATED (AP) — Oatly, the world’s largest oat milk company, raised $1.4 billion in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Oatly priced its shares at $17 apiece ahead of the IPO, giving the company a valuation of nearly $10 billion. Its shares then jumped 24% when the began trading Thursday. It’s the latest milestone in the rapid rise of oat milk, which is winning consumers __ and big-name investors like Oprah Winfrey __ with the message that it’s healthier and more environmentally sustainable than cow’s milk. U.S. sales of oat milk jumped 131% over the last year, according to Nielsen.

JPMORGAN-HEALTH CARE

JPMorgan dives back into fixing health care with new venture

UNDATED (AP) — JPMorgan Chase will take another crack at fixing health care after a push with two other corporate giants dissolved earlier this year. The bank said Thursday that it formed a new business focused on improving care provided for about 285,000 people through its employer-sponsored health plan. Morgan Health will start with $250 million for investments and a health policy veteran as its CEO, former Clinton administration official Dan Mendelson. The announcement comes a few months after a similar venture backed by JP Morgan, the retail giant Amazon and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shut down.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WORKERS-MASKS

Nervous workers struggle to adjust to new mask policies

NEW YORK (AP) — An abrupt relaxation of mask policies at some retail and grocery stores has left workers reeling as they try to sort out what the new environment means for their own safety and relationship with customers. Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Costco, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s and Target are among the growing number of big chains that are allowing vaccinated customers to shop mask-less, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Many, including Walmart and Target, are also allowing vaccinated workers to drop their masks. Some workers took to social media to cheer, but many others protested. Some don’t trust customers to be truthful about their vaccination status.

KOHL’S-RESULTS

Kohl’s roars back in Q1, but 2021 outlook spooks Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl’s raised its financial outlook for the year on Thursday, after a solid rebound in the first quarter from the devastating impact of the pandemic. But those raised expectations fell short of what many industry analysts had been expecting and shares plunged nearly 11% Thursday. More shoppers came back to shop in stores as COVID-19 vaccinations become more common and Kohl’s bounced back to a profit after the chain lost money last year when it was forced close its doors along with thousands of other retailers. Quarterly sales and profits topped almost all expectations, but Kohl’s said it expects net sales to increase only in the mid-to-high teens

FORD-BATTERY VENTURE

New Ford venture to build 2 electric vehicle battery plants

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is forming a joint venture with one of its suppliers that will build two North American factories that will make batteries for roughly 600,000 electric vehicles per year by mid-decade. The deal with SK Innovation of Korea was announced Thursday. It sets up a possible confrontation between the companies and the United Auto Workers, which issued a statement saying Ford has a moral obligation to make sure plant workers are paid union wages. The joint venture called BlueOvalSK is the start of Ford’s plan to vertically integrate key parts of the electric vehicle supply chain. The companies say they have signed a memorandum of understanding, but details on the ownership structure, factory sites and union representation have yet to be worked out.

DAIMLER-TRUCKS-HYDROGEN

Daimler Truck to shift spending to battery, hydrogen rigs

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Daimler Truck says it’s all in for a zero emission future. The world’s largest truck and bus maker says it will spend most of its vehicle development money on battery and hydrogen vehicles within just a couple of years, by 2025. It says the high cost of the vehicles should fall to equal that of today’s diesel within a few years after that. It’s an ambitious plan especially for hydrogen fuel cell technology, which is in its infancy when it comes to use in vehicles. But Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum said Thursday it’s the only way to meet climate goals. The truck division is to be spun off from parent Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes cars, later this year.

NETHERLANDS-GHOSN

Dutch court orders former Nissan boss Ghosn to repay salary

AMSTERDAM (AP) — A Dutch court has ordered fugitive former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn (gohn) to repay nearly 5 million euros in salary to an Amsterdam-based alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi, and rejected his claim for millions in compensation for wrongful dismissal. The ruling Thursday came in a case in which Ghosn sought to have his 2018 sacking from Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V. overturned and demanded 15 million euros ($16.5 million) in compensation. The court in Amsterdam rejected his claims, saying he did not have a contract with the company at the time.

EUROPE-US-TRADE

EU ministers seek to cement trade ties with Biden team

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union and U.S. top trade officials used a virtual meeting to cement recent advances in settling some key differences that have soured trans-Atlantic relations over the past years. Germany’s Trade Minister Peter Altmaier spoke of the scent of spring in the air when it came to relations with the Biden administration following four years of divisive relations under President Donald Trump. Over the past weeks, both sides have already hit the pause button on two of the most divisive trade disputes and hope Biden’s visit to the EU next month will further increase cooperation.

EUROPE-CHINA-TRADE

EU threatens to freeze huge investment deal with China

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s parliament is warning China it will not ratify a long-awaited business investment deal as long as sanctions against EU legislators remain in place. EU lawmakers adopted a resolution in which they condemned “the baseless and arbitrary sanctions” imposed by Beijing on European individuals and institutions in March. The Parliament’s criticism was echoed by EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, who said after a meeting of EU trade ministers that China’s sanctions have not created a favorable environment for a deal to be concluded.

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