By Francesca Fontana 

McDonald's Corp.

Businesses are shelling out more in wages and perks to woo hourly workers. McDonald's said it would boost pay for employees at company-owned U.S. restaurants. Amazon.com Inc. announced plans to hire 75,000 more workers and offer $1,000 signing bonuses at some locations. The retail company said its openings offer average pay of $17 an hour, more than its typical hourly starting wage of $15. McDonald's shares rose 0.8% on Thursday.

Marriott International Inc.

Newly vaccinated travelers apparently are ready to be hotel guests again. Marriott said demand is rising in the U.S. and Canada as Covid-19 vaccine rollouts accelerate. Despite losing money in the first quarter, the hotel chain said it saw leisure travel pick up momentum, especially in ski and beach resort destinations, as well as in special corporate and group bookings. Marriott expects demand from business travelers to accelerate in the fall as businesses reopen, though leisure bookings remain the main driver of recovery in the U.S. Marriott shares fell 4.1% on Monday.

Kinder Morgan Inc.

A shutdown of the largest U.S. fuel pipeline bottled up the East Coast. Colonial Pipeline, which transports about 45% of the fuel consumed in the region, was the target of a ransomware attack that forced it to shut the conduit down. The stoppage caused thousands of gas stations to run out of fuel and helped push prices to their highest levels in 6 1/2 years. In the aftermath, shares of other energy pipeline companies such as Kinder Morgan rose Monday. Closely held Colonial restarted pipeline operations Wednesday, and the company was said to pay a ransom in cryptocurrency worth about $5 million to the criminal hackers. Shares of Kinder Morgan climbed 2.3% on Monday.

Novavax Inc.

A Covid-19 vaccine contender has to wait longer for its shot. Novavax said Monday that it had pushed back plans to seek regulatory clearance for its vaccine while shortages in raw materials are slowing the increase in production of doses. The delays might set back efforts to increase vaccinations in developing countries, which have been dealing with limited doses of currently available shots and are looking forward to Novavax's offering. The company said previously that it expected to complete requests for regulatory authorizations of its Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S., the U.K. and other countries by the end of June. Now the company says it expects to complete those filings by the end of September. Novavax shares lost 14% on Tuesday.

Domino's Pizza Inc.

The billionaire investor Bill Ackman owns a stake in Domino's Pizza. During The Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival, Mr. Ackman said his Pershing Square Capital Management LP holds nearly 6% in the pizza chain and saw a buying opportunity when shares dipped recently. He said he likes that the pizza chain has its own delivery infrastructure and doesn't rely on services such as DoorDash Inc. Though Mr. Ackman is best known as a shareholder activist, he has lately taken stakes such as these in companies he regards as well-run and hasn't publicly advocated for change. Domino's shares added 0.7% on Wednesday.

Tesla Inc.

Tesla hit the brakes on bitcoin. Chief Executive Elon Musk said Wednesday on Twitter that the company has suspended accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its vehicles because of concern about the use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions. Mr. Musk said bitcoin will be used for transactions once mining "transitions to more sustainable energy." Tesla shares fell 3.1% on Thursday.

Walt Disney Co.

The streaming boom is running into more interference. Disney said Thursday that its flagship streaming service, Disney+, added fewer users than Wall Street had expected after months of torrential growth. More than a year of quarantines and stay-at-home orders accelerated an industrywide shift toward direct-to-consumer services that made subscriber growth -- and not box-office sales -- the leading metric of studios' success. The end of lockdowns and mask mandates is good news for Disney's lucrative parks division and studio releases, but presents new challenges for its 18-month-old streaming operation. Earlier this year, Netflix Inc. announced its subscriber sign-ups had slowed during the reopening. Walt Disney shares lost 2.6% on Friday.

Write to Francesca Fontana at francesca.fontana@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 14, 2021 18:30 ET (22:30 GMT)

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