The daily business briefing: March 22, 2021
U.S. trial shows AstraZeneca's vaccine is 79 percent effective against COVID, Texas Roadhouse founder Kent Taylor dies at 65, and more
U.S. trial: AstraZeneca vaccine 79 percent effective against COVID
A large U.S. trial found that AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine is 79 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, and 100 percent effective at preventing severe cases and hospitalization, according to an analysis published Monday. The latest news on the vaccine, which AstraZeneca developed with Oxford University, came after major European countries briefly suspended use of the vaccine due to concerns it could be linked to blood clots in small numbers of vaccinated people. European regulators have since declared that the vaccine is safe and effective, and Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and other countries have resumed its use. Trials have shown that Moderna's vaccine is more than 94 percent effective in preventing COVID, and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95 percent effective.
Texas Roadhouse founder Kent Taylor dies at 65
Texas Roadhouse founder and CEO Kent Taylor has died of suicide after suffering from severe tinnitus and other symptoms related to COVID-19, his family and the company confirmed in a statement Sunday. He was 65. "Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable," the statement said. Taylor came up for the idea for his restaurant chain on a cocktail napkin, and opened his first Texas Roadhouse in Clarksville, Indiana, in 1993. The company now has 610 restaurants in 49 states and 11 countries. The company is based in Taylor's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted that Taylor "was a maverick entrepreneur who embodied the values of never giving up and putting others first."
Canadian Pacific to acquire Kansas City Southern
Canadian Pacific has agreed to acquire Kansas City Southern in a deal seeking to bring together the first freight rail network to connect Canada, the United States, and Mexico. "This company is going to have a North America rail footprint that is truly unmatched," said Patrick Ottensmeyer, CEO of Kansas City. The acquisition, valued around $25 billion, comes after Canadian Pacific unsuccessfully tried to buy two other U.S. railroads, in 2014 and 2016. This takeover still must pass a review by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. The regulators will determine whether the tie-up is in the public interest and enhances competition. The companies said they expected the review to be completed by mid-2022.
Stock futures mixed after last week's losses
U.S. stock index futures were mixed early Monday after last week's losses. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 0.2 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the S&P 500 were flat, while those of the tech-heavy Nasdaq were up by 0.5 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes dropped last week as bond yields surged again, weighing down tech and other growth stocks that led last year's rebound from the springtime crash caused by the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, the 10-year Treasury note's price rose, lowering yields. Despite last week's declines of 0.8 percent for the S&P 500 and 0.5 percent for the Dow, both remained near their recent record highs. The Nasdaq fell by 0.8 percent last week.
Japan formally charges U.S. father and son with helping Ghosn escape
Japanese prosecutors on Monday filed formal charges against two American men, Michael Taylor, 60, and Peter Taylor, 28, accusing them of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape the country in December 2019 ahead of his trial on financial charges, which he denies. The Taylors, a father-and-son team, were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited to Japan on March 2, where they are being interrogated in a Tokyo jail. They are accused of harboring a criminal and face up to three years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say they helped Ghosn, who was out on bail, hide inside a musical-equipment box as he traveled by bullet train to an airport before flying out of the country on a private jet.