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TALKING POINTS

Offshore wind company has new Boston-based North American head

Three turbines from the Deepwater Wind project, acquired by the Norwegian company Ørsted, stood off Block Island, R.I.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press/File 2018

ENERGY

North American division of Danish offshore wind company has a new CEO

The Danish company that’s the biggest offshore wind developer in the United States has a new boss in Boston. Ørsted has named David Hardy to be the new chief executive of its offshore North American operations, a group with about 150 employees including 50 in its Boston headquarters. Hardy, the first US-born executive to oversee an Ørsted region, joined the company in March as its president and chief operating officer. Hardy is replacing Thomas Brostrøm, who has led the North American operations since 2015 and overseen the company’s acquisition of Deepwater Wind. Brostrøm plans to relocate to Europe for an executive position at another, unspecified energy company. — JON CHESTO

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ENERGY

Exxon Mobil plans layoffs in face of low oil prices

Exxon Mobil plans to lay off an unspecified number of employees as low oil prices force the company to delay major projects, chief executive Darren Woods said in an e-mail to staff. Woods also mounted an extensive defense of fossil fuels, calling them a ''higher purpose'' that aids global prosperity at a time when European peers are looking at renewables as the future. The oil behemoth’s job cuts are just the latest sign of struggle among US energy producers navigating the industry’s worst downturn in recent memory. This week two high-profile mergers were announced as explorers seek to gain scale and cut costs to survive the devastating impact of COVID-19 on global demand for fuel. Many have succumbed to bankruptcy. Exxon’s stock has plunged 52 percent this year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Target to allow shoppers to make reservations

At a time when the thought of holiday crowds might be more frightening than festive, Target is introducing a new safety measure: reservations. During the holidays, shoppers can visit Target.com/line to see if there is a line outside their local store and reserve a spot. They’ll be notified when it’s their turn to shop. Other new safety measures include contactless self-checkout anywhere in-store through Target’s Wallet app, double the parking for Target’s popular drive-up services, and expanded same-day delivery and pickup offerings, the company said. — WASHINGTON POST

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RAILROADS

Union Pacific’s profit down, but shipments up

Union Pacific’s third-quarter profit declined 12 percent, but the volume of shipments it handled surged as the economy rebounded from the worst of the virus-related shutdowns earlier this year. The railroad said volume was still down 4 percent in the quarter, but that represented a significant improvement over the second quarter when volume plunged 20 percent because so many businesses were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHEMICALS

Bill Gates backing venture that aims to make ‘forever chemicals’ not so

A new venture backed by billionaire Bill Gates is trying to make sure that “forever chemicals” don’t really last that long. Allonnia LLC, which launched Thursday with $40 million in Series A funding, is working to engineer microbes to get rid of pollutants in waste water and soil. It’s starting with PFAS, an insidious class of chemicals that are widespread in US drinking water and have otherwise proved resistant to breaking down, earning them the “forever” moniker. Allonnia, named after a now-extinct sea sponge that filtered the oceans in the Cambrian era, will “bioprospect” to find the right enzymes or microbes for specific challenges. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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BEVERAGES

Coca-Cola sees improvement, but still tough going during pandemic

Coca-Cola measured gradual improvement in the third quarter as it focused on emerging leaner from the global pandemic. Revenue fell 9 percent, far better than the 28 percent drop in revenue in the second quarter. Coke has been decimated with the closure of arenas, restaurants, theaters, and other public places where it books about half of its revenue. It has been making up for some of that damage as people buy more beverages, like orange juice, to bring home. In August, the company began offering voluntary buyouts to around 4,000 people, which it hopes will reduce the number of people it eventually lays off. Coke is reducing the number of individual business segments from 17 to nine. Coca-Cola Co. also announced last week that it is retiring several products this year, including Tab, Zico coconut water, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, and regional offerings like Northern Neck Ginger Ale. The company had announced in July that it was retiring Odwalla juices. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINANCE

Another hedge fund decamps from Manhattan to Florida

Florida is luring its biggest name yet in hedge funds: Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. The $41 billion firm plans to move its headquarters to West Palm Beach from Midtown Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter, joining a growing list of funds that have relocated to the Sunshine State. With no individual income taxes, estate taxes, or capital gains taxes, Florida has become a hot destination for hedge funds in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated that shift away from New York, the initial epicenter of the US outbreak. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ENERGY

Big French energy company delays deal for LNG from US

One of France’s biggest energy companies has delayed a decision on a $7 billion deal to import liquefied natural gas from the United States after pressure from the government to seek cleaner supplies of the fuel. Engie SA said it has postponed work on a contract to take LNG from NextDecade Corp.'s operation, which is fed by shale gas fields using controversial fracking technology. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MORTGAGES

Rate nudges down again to another historic low

Mortgage rates once again dipped to a record low. The average for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan dropped to 2.8 percent, down from 2.81 percent last week and the lowest in almost 50 years of data-keeping, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. It was the 11th record low this year. The previous one held for a week. The plunge in borrowing costs began in March as the coronavirus roiled financial markets. The lower rates have fueled a housing rally that has boosted the pandemic-battered US economy. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

REAL ESTATE

Home sales up more than 9 percent in September

Sales of existing homes climbed 9.4 percent in September, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday, the latest sign that the housing market remains red hot despite the coronavirus pandemic. On a seasonally-adjusted rate, the selling pace of existing homes climbed to 6.54 million annualized units. That is the highest level for that metric since February 2006, at the peak of the previous housing bubble. The figure was well above economists' expectations as well. The median selling price of a home also climbed to $311,800, up 15 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. This is largely because of low inventory of existing homes. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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