Update on the latest in business:


Stocks fall as earnings reports start to flow

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have been mostly lower in afternoon trading as investors started digesting company earnings reports that are steadily coming out this week. On average, analysts expect quarterly profits across the S&P 500 to be up 24% from a year earlier, according to FactSet.

Banks and technology stocks were the biggest weights on the market as investors pulled back into a more defensive posture. Utilities and a mix of companies that make consumer goods and household products did better than most of the market.

Kansas City Southern rose 15% after another Canadian railway company made an offer for the railroad, which will likely start a bidding war.


EU agency links J&J shot to rare clots, says odds favor use

LONDON (AP) — The European Union’s drug regulatory agency says it found a “possible link” between Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and extremely rare blood clots and that a warning should be added to the label. But experts at the agency reiterated that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.

The European Medicines Agency announced its findings after a very small number of vaccine recipients in the United States were reported to have developed blood clots. It said these rare blood disorders should be considered “very rare side effects of the vaccine” and it recommended a warning on package labels.

The agency oversees the use of pharmaceutical products in the 27 EU countries.


Johnson & Johnson Q1 profit, sales jump, beat Street views

UNDATED (AP) — Big jumps in sales of prescription drugs and medical devices helped Johnson & Johnson boost first-quarter profit nearly 7%, blowing past Wall Street forecasts.

The health care giant today raised and narrowed its 2021 financial forecasts. It reported a small drop in consumer health sales versus 2020’s first quarter, when consumers stocked up on over-the-counter medicines as the coronavirus pandemic set in and lockdowns began.


CN bids $33.7B for Kansas City Southern, tops $25B proposal

UNDATED (AP) — A bidding war is breaking out for Kansas City Southern, with Canadian National Railway making a $33.7 billion cash-and-stock offer for the railway. The bid trumps a $25 billion cash-and-stock proposal made by Canadian Pacific last month.

Shares of Kansas City Southern jumped more than 14% in Tuesday premarket trading. CN’s stock fell 7.7%.

CN said its offer is worth $325 per Kansas City Southern share. Kansas City Southern shareholders would receive $200 in cash and 1.059 shares of CN common stock for each share. But any deal could face tough scrutiny from regulators who haven’t approved a major railroad merger since the 1990s.


US takes steps to protect electric system from cyberattacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking steps to protect the country’s electric system from cyberattacks through a new 100-day initiative combining federal government agencies and private industry.

The initiative was announced by the Energy Department. It encourages owners and operators of power plants and electric utilities to bolster their capabilities for identifying cyber threats to their networks. It includes concrete milestones for them to put into use technologies so they can spot and respond to intrusions in real time.

The effort underscores the heightened concern about the prospects for cyberattacks that disrupt the nation’s power supply. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says it’s up to government and industry “to prevent possible harms.”


Daily Mail owner files antitrust suit against Google in US

UNDATED (AP) — The owner of the Daily Mail website is suing Google, saying the tech company’s dominance in online advertising has harmed its business.

The suit, filed Monday in federal court in New York, says Google punishes publishers’ search results if they don’t sell enough ad space through Google.

Federal and state antitrust authorities have sued Google. The Justice Department alleges that Google abuses its dominance in online search and advertising.

A West Virginia newspaper company, HD Media, also sued Google and Facebook in January. Google said the Daily Mail’s claims are inaccurate and it will defend itself against them.


Boeing extends CEO’s term, chief financial officer to leave

UNDATED (AP) — Boeing is lifting the company’s retirement age for CEO David Calhoun, potentially allowing him to lead the troubled aircraft builder for several more years.

Boeing said today that its board pushed the standard age-65 retirement age to 70 for Calhoun, who is 64. At the same time, the company announced that its 54-year-old chief financial officer will retire in July. Greg Smith has been with Boeing for 30 years.

The announcement comes as Boeing conducts it annual meeting online. Shareholders voted to re-elect all members of Boeing board, even though a shareholder advisory firm has recommended against two of them.


Ex-Jack Daniel’s distiller to make new whiskey in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The former top distiller at Jack Daniel’s is opening a new distillery near the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

Former Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett and several partners announced the plan to open Company Distilling in Tennessee. Later this year, they will open a 4,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant in Townsend. A 20,000-square-foot main distillery in Alcoa and a tasting room in Thompson Station, closer to Nashville, will follow next year. The distillery will make straight bourbon whiskey finished with maple wood.

Arnett left Jack Daniel’s late last year after a nearly 20-year stint with the powerhouse whiskey maker.


Church leaders seek Home Depot boycott on Georgia voting law

ATLANTA (AP) — A group of religious leaders is calling for a boycott of Georgia-based Home Depot, saying the home improvement giant hasn’t done enough to oppose the state’s new voting laws.

African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Reginald Jackson says the company has remained “silent and indifferent” to his efforts to rally opposition to the new state law pushed by Republicans. Jackson had a meeting last week with Georgia-based executives to urge them to oppose the voting law, but says he’s been unable to contact Home Depot.

The company didn’t immediately respond to an email Tuesday.

Boycotts have aimed to pressure business leaders to push elected officials to change.


Venmo is into crypto, allowing users to buy Bitcoin, others

NEW YORK (AP) — Venmo will allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its app, the latest mainstream financial platform to wade into alternative currency like Bitcoin.

In addition to Bitcoin, Venmo said Tuesday that trading in Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash will be allowed, too. Venmo crypto buyers will be able to publish their purchases or sells on the app’s social feed as well.

Bitcoin has attracted massive interest, particularly in the last 18 months. Its price has held steadily above $50,000, and the value of other cryptocurrencies has been on the rise.

Venmo will only allow users to buy, sell or hold crypto currencies.


Dogecoin has its day, as cryptocurrency fans push it up

NEW YORK (AP) — Dogecoin (DOHJ’-koyn) is having its day. Fans of the cryptocurrency are touting April 20 as “Doge Day” and imploring each other to get its value up to $1. That would be an astonishing ascent from the roughly half of a cent that a Dogecoin was fetching at the start of the year.

Supporters are trying to help Dogecoin shed its image as a joke cryptocurrency. It’s also attracting buyers who want to get in on the next “meme” investment after watching GameStop soar earlier this year. But critics say people buying Dogecoin now are likely setting themselves up for pain.


Chesapeake Energy terminates naming rights deal with Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Chesapeake Energy has terminated its arena naming rights agreement with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The move is effective immediately, though the team said the name will remain until a new partner is found.

The original 12-year agreement was announced in 2011. The Thunder became a Western Conference power while playing home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The arena known locally as “The ’Peake” hosted the 2012 NBA Finals and three Western Conference Finals under that name.

The move was made as part of a restructuring of the company.


Subaru recalls vehicles to fix engine, suspension problems

DETROIT (AP) — Subaru is recalling nearly 875,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. because the engines can stall or a rear suspension part can fall off. The stalling recall covers more than 466,000 Crosstrek SUVs from 2018 and 2019 and Impreza cars from 2017 through 2019. The company says in government documents that a computer can power the ignition coil after the car is shut off, causing a short circuit.

Dealers will update the software, replace ignition coils and if necessary install a new front exhaust pipe. The recall is to start May 28.

The suspension recall affects more than 408,000 2018 and 2019 Crosstreks and 2019 Foresters. Some rear stabilizer bar bolts can loosen and detach, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will tighten bolts and replace any missing ones starting May 14.

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