U.S. vaccine advisers recommended adults take a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc. over J&J’s after health authorities said the rate of a rare but serious blood-clotting condition was higher than previously detected. The updated position is likely to deal another blow to use of the J&J shot, whose uptake had been hurt by manufacturing issues and earlier reports of the blood-clotting condition. J&J shares closed nearly 2.8% lower Friday.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA

The line between beer and soda is about to get blurrier. Anheuser-Busch said Thursday that it is introducing a line of Bud Light-branded hard soda in cola, cherry cola, orange and lemon-lime flavors. PepsiCo Inc. early next year will also roll out an alcoholic version of Mountain Dew in a partnership with Boston Beer Co.

These rollouts follow Coca-Cola Co.’s introduction of a boozy version of Topo Chico sparkling water with Molson Coors Beverage Co. The product launches are the latest in a series of crossover ventures as alcohol and soft-drink companies push into one another’s turf. Shares of Anheuser-Busch rose 2.5% Thursday.

McDonald’s Corp. MCD -1.45%

A long-running scandal is no longer on the front burner at McDonald’s. Former Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook agreed to return compensation now valued at more than $105 million to resolve a legal dispute related to his dismissal as head of the burger chain, the company said Thursday.

The settlement, which avoids a trial against the former top executive, included an apology from Mr. Easterbook who said he “failed at times to uphold McDonald’s values and fulfill certain of my responsibilities as a leader of the company.” He was dismissed in November 2019 when he acknowledged having a consensual relationship with an unnamed employee, McDonald’s said. Shares of McDonald’s rose 0.4% Thursday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

A big proponent of in-person meetings decided to go virtual at one of its premier annual events. On Wednesday, JPMorgan told participants in approaching San Francisco healthcare conference that the spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19 had made gathering in person too risky. The bank had earlier told companies it wasn’t going to allow virtual presentations at the January gathering, and that anyone looking to be a part of the conference—which typically draws thousands of people—would have to attend in person.

The bank’s decision came after several biotechnology companies pulled out of planned in-person appearances. JPMorgan’s shares dropped 0.7% Wednesday.

Tesla Inc. TSLA 0.61%

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) clashed on Twitter after the lawmaker called on the billionaire to pay more taxes.

“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Ms. Warren tweeted, referring to Mr. Musk, whom Time magazine named its person of the year this week.

The electric-vehicle chief responded with a string of tweets, saying that he will pay more taxes than any American in history this year. “Don’t spend it all at once…oh wait you did already,” he wrote Tuesday evening. “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason,” Mr. Musk said. Tesla shares rose 1.8% Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. TM -1.76%

A prominent voice of caution about electric vehicles is reversing its views. Toyota said Tuesday that it would make 3.5 million EVs a year by 2030 and set a target of selling 4 million annually. Toyota had been the last of the world’s top auto makers to express hesitation about such a transition, and even this week it said many of customers, especially in the U.S. outside the coasts, weren’t yet ready for a battery-powered car and might not be for some time.

By 2030, it said it wants all models in its upscale Lexus brand to be electric in the U.S., China and Europe. This week it showed off more than a dozen of the 30 EV models it intends to have on sale by that year. Shares of Toyota rose 2.7% Tuesday.

Kroger Co. KR -2.44%

A big grocer is bagging some Covid-19 benefits for unvaccinated employees. Kroger told workers it would no longer provide two weeks of paid emergency leave for unvaccinated employees who contract the virus unless local jurisdictions require otherwise, The Wall Street Journal reported. Kroger will also add a $50 monthly surcharge to company health plans for unvaccinated managers and other nonunion employees, according to a memo viewed by the Journal.

Both policies are effective Jan. 1, the memo said. Kroger is one of the biggest employers in the U.S., with almost half a million full-time and part-time employees. Its shares dropped 0.1% Tuesday.

Write to Dan Fitzpatrick at [email protected]

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Source: WSJ

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