Latest business headlines

The latest business news from the region and nation.

THE FINE PRINT | CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Verizon cuts off elderly woman’s phone — on her birthday

The state needs better rules for determining if a utility customer is elderly.

Tiki torch maker burned by racists in Charlottesville

The innocuous bamboo beacons known for their presence at barbecues were found this month in Charlottesville.

At iSpecimen, biosamples get shipped fast when researchers need them

Lexington’s iSpecimen is helping to radically change the way researchers get blood and tissue samples

Lifted by its Mass. labs, chip maker AMD rebounds

For the first time in at least a decade, the Silicon Valley chip maker Advanced Micro Devices may be living up to its name.

STAT

Who gets Big Pharma’s lobbying dollars?

As the winds shift in Washington, D.C., here’s something to depend on: Big pharma and health products companies will be the top spenders on lobbying.

Evan Horowitz | Quick Study

Smart investors may be killing capitalism

When investors own little bits of everything, they lose interest in the kind of fierce market competition that is supposed to keep prices low and innovation humming.

CONSUMER REPORTS

Keeping things solid underfoot

Wood is most the popular flooring, but a poor choice for the kitchen.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY | THE COLOR OF MONEY

Are you plagued by serial get-out-of-debt disorder?

This ailment typically affects people who live above their means.

Sporting goods retailers brace for lengthy slump

Shares of stores that mostly sell sneakers and sporting gear plummeted Friday after Foot Locker and smaller rival Hibbett Sports reported a drop in sales in the latest quarter.

Infosys chief quits after battle with founders

The departure of Vishal Sikka comes just months after a struggle at the top of the Tata Group, a powerful Indian conglomerate, focused attention on a variety of problems in the country’s corporate governance and culture.

Former Uber CEO lashes out at VC firm suing company

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is skewering a lawsuit filed by a former ally, describing it as a malicious attempt to sever his remaining ties to the widely used ride-hailing service that he co-founded.

stat

Lawmakers push drug makers to explain soaring MS drug prices

Two Democratic lawmakers have sent letters to several drug companies about the costs of treatments for multiple sclerosis.

One Dalton tower set to power up

The hotel and condo tower under construction alongside Christian Science Plaza is set to poke its head up above the neighboring Sheraton Hotel within the next few weeks.

Brigham and Women’s buyouts will cost as much as $90m

The company doesn’t expect to start reaping savings from the job cuts in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng to buy MassMutual unit for $1.7 billion

Yunfeng will use the new unit to add offerings such as death benefits and annuities.

Walmart’s online sales soar as it seeks to catch Amazon

The world’s largest retailer said Thursday that online sales soared 60 percent in the past three months.

L.L. Bean boosting production of iconic boot

L.L. Bean hopes to give the boot to backlogs of its most iconic product.

Wegmans moves ahead with two suburban stores, while plans for Boston market are on hold

In Boston, Wegmans’ hunt for space led it to the Landmark Center in the Fenway. But now that deal might not happen.

So far, compromise eludes Mass. alcohol task force

But the group’s chairman insists it will promote major changes to the way beer, wine, and spirits are sold in Massachusetts.

Lawsuit claims Poland Spring Water is committing ‘colossal fraud’

A lawsuit claims that Poland Spring Water is deceiving consumers by saying their bottle contains ‘‘100 percent natural spring water’’ that hails from Maine.

Friday’s business agenda

Networking breakfast, programming workshop and other notable events and things to know.

UMass Memorial pulls out of state Medicaid overhaul

The move makes UMass Memorial Health Care the state’s only large network of doctors and hospitals that will not participate in the restructuring of MassHealth.

Scott Kirsner | Innovation Economy

Never heard of the High-Growth CEO Forum? That’s just fine with the group’s members

Local tech executives say its low profile allows them to seek advice — and accept criticism — from peers.

Mass. unemployment rate evens out with national average

Massachusetts lost 200 jobs in July, and the labor force participation rate took a slight dip.

In Boston, Amazon items will be available in an instant

An Instant Pickup store, where your order is ready in two minutes, is opening on Commonwealth Avenue.

ON THE JOB

He’s spent most of his life perfecting lettuce

Pieter Slaman uses his Netherlands-learned expertise to help run a high-tech farm in Devens.

Fed officials confront new reality: low inflation and low unemployment

A growing number of officials say the Fed needs to adjust its assumptions about inflation and employment, according to an account of the meeting that the Fed published on Wednesday.

Hiawatha Bray | Tech :Lab

Shutting up the alt-right

Sometimes even a free speech fanatic like me is forced to admit that the correct answer is “shut up.”

Express Scripts to limit opioids; doctors concerned

The nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager will soon limit the number and strength of opioid drugs prescribed to first-time users as part of a wide-ranging effort to curb an epidemic affecting millions of Americans.

US demands big NAFTA changes, setting stage for tough talks

The United States won’t settle for cosmetic changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the top US trade negotiator said, as negotiations to rework terms of the pact began.

Amid uncertainty, state delays approval of 2018 insurance rates

Officials said they would wait until “sometime in September” to approve the rates, amid President Trump’s threat to end some subsidies.

BY IKE SWETLITZ | STAT

Researchers strive to create beating Band-Aids for the heart

Damaged heart tissue doesn’t just heal like a scraped knee — it needs a little help from tissue engineers.

CONSUMER ALERT

Beware of ‘buy here, pay here’ car deals

It is not uncommon for auto sellers to take advantage of customers with limited incomes or low credit scores.

Thursday’s business agenda

Mortgage rates, marketing workshop, panel discussion, and other notable events and things to know.

The new Wegmans in Natick is hiring 550 new employees

Wegmans, which is rapidly expanding in Mass., is hiring 550 new employees at its new location in Natick — 225 of whom would be full-time.

Minuteman Health won’t relaunch as for-profit

Thousands in Massachusetts and New Hampshire will now need to find new health insurance for 2018.

GE chair Jeff Immelt quit Trump panel just before president disbanded it

General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt joined the exodus of executives quitting the manufacturing council.

Organizers postpone Google protest marches, citing ‘alt-left terrorist’ threats

The postponement of Saturday’s rally comes on the heels of bloody clashes in Charlottesville.

Plan for new Coast Guard museum in Conn. gains momentum

Supporters of the National Coast Guard Museum say a $100 million museum will become a reality in New London, Conn., soon.

Partners CEO tops hospital pay list

Dr. David Torchiana, who oversees the state’s largest health system and largest private employer, earned nearly $4.3 million in total compensation in 2015.

Solar developers and panel makers clash over tariff request

Tariff opponents and proponents argued that the future of the solar industry is at risk.

Three-nation efforts to revise NAFTA set to begin

Of all the trade deals he lambasted on the campaign trail as threats to American workers, President Donald Trump reserved particular scorn for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Wednesday’s business agenda

CEO panel, networking, workshops, and other notable events and things to know.

Uber agrees to privacy audits in settlement with FTC

Uber has agreed to two decades of privacy and security audits to settle federal accusations that it did not keep promises to protect customer data.

Verdict in Teamsters’ case could have wide-reaching implications

The acquittals could have a profound effect on the labor movement.

Stocks end the day about where they started it

Stocks were coming off their biggest one-day gain in more than three months.

Mass. agency buying properties in bid to revive older downtowns

MassDevelopment hopes that putting a shabby building or vacant lot to better use will be a catalyst for positive change.

Five things to know about Rebecca Onie

Rebecca Onie is chief executive of Health Leads, a Boston-based nonprofit with a mission of persuading health care institutions to address food, electricity, and other basic resources that patients need to be healthy.

Wisconsin Assembly committee approves $3b Foxconn tax break

A $10 billion plant could employ up to 13,000 workers.

British cybersecurity expert pleads not guilty to US charges

Marcus Hutchins pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges accusing him of creating malicious software to steal banking information three years ago.