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TALKING POINTS

Golfers’ return to the links bolsters Acushnet

Sales of Titleist-branded gear rose 51 percent, year over year, and 38 percent from 2019.
Sales of Titleist-branded gear rose 51 percent, year over year, and 38 percent from 2019.George Rizer for the Boston Globe/File 2011

GOLF

Acushnet tees up a good earnings report

Investors sure liked the swing of Acushnet Holdings Corp. during its first quarter, and sent the stock up 20.25 percent Thursday to close at $51.60 after the Fairhaven-based golf supplies manufacturer reported its latest earnings results. First-quarter net sales rose 42 percent, year over year, to $581 million. That number also represents a 34 percent increase in sales from the first quarter of 2019. Sales of Titleist-branded gear rose 51 percent, year over year, and 38 percent from 2019, while sales of Footjoy golf wear (primarily shoes and gloves) rose 22 percent from the same time in 2020, and 13 percent from 2019 levels. Acushnet’s business was negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first two quarters of 2020 when most of its operations in the United States were shut down and most pro shops were closed for varying lengths of time. But the game of golf enjoyed a global surge in popularity as courses reopened last year, in part because it is an outdoor activity with easy social distancing. Acushnet saw a surge in demand in the back half of 2020 as a result. — JON CHESTO

INDUSTRY

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GE buys French company that develops imaging agents

Boston-based General Electric Co. has made its second acquisition since Larry Culp took over as CEO in 2018, with a deal to buy French startup Zionexa for an unspecified amount. Zionexa develops imaging agents that help oncologists select the right treatments for patients who have metastatic breast cancer. Zionexa will be added to GE Healthcare’s US Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business, which is based in Marlborough. The startup’s 24 employees will join GE, which will add another 70 jobs globally to the pharmaceutical diagnostics business as a result of the acquisition, including 12 in Marlborough. GE’s first acquisition under Culp, the purchase of a Swedish startup in November, was also done in its healthcare division. — JON CHESTO

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BANKING

UBS chairman suggests he be replaced by a woman

UBS chairman Axel Weber suggested the bank should consider appointing a chairwoman after he exits next year as the bank seeks to address a lack of gender diversity on its board. UBS is planning to appoint the successor to Weber, 64, at the annual general meeting next year. Weber, who is himself involved in the search process along with chief executive Ralph Hamers, plans to step down after 10 years. The search for his successor started early this year and is being led by senior independent director Jeremy Anderson. When Weber started at UBS, the bank planned to have women accounting for at least half of the board of directors, he said at the event. So far, the lender has only managed one-third, Weber said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

SOFTWARE

Microsoft promises to keep cloud data inside EU

Microsoft is pledging to let business and public sector customers in the European Union keep cloud computing data inside the 27-nation bloc to avert concerns about US government access to sensitive information. Transatlantic data protection has been a growing concern since the European Union’s top court struck down a data-sharing agreement last year known as Privacy Shield. The court said the agreement, which allowed businesses to transfer data to the United States under the EU’s strict data privacy rules, was invalid because it didn’t go far enough to prevent the American government from snooping on user data. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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AUTOMOTIVE

Volkswagen notches a good quarter as China sales rebound

Volkswagen’s after-tax profit rebounded strongly to 3.4 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in the first three months of the year as sales rebounded in China, the company’s largest single market, and as customers went for the more profitable models in the company’s lineup. Sales of electrified cars more than doubled. The first-quarter profit figure improved from 517 million euros ($623 million) in the same period of 2020, when the pandemic caused dealerships and factories to close. The outlook was raised despite ongoing shortages of semiconductors from suppliers that cost the company 100,000 vehicles in lost production in the first quarter. The shortage would “substantially burden” earnings in the second quarter, the company said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

STREAMING

ViacomCBS’s bottom line boosted by Paramount+ revenue

ViacomCBS’s first-quarter net income beat expectations on strong streaming revenue during a quarter when the company aired the Super Bowl and introduced its rebranded streaming service. ViacomCBS rebranded its streaming service, formerly called CBS All Access, to Paramount+ in March. ViacomCBS added 6 million global streaming subscribers in the quarter, for a total of 36 million across all of its streaming services, Paramount+, Showtime, and BET+. ViacomCBS has projected that those services will reach 65 million subscribers by 2024, with most of the growth coming from Paramount+. Paramount+ costs $6 a month with ads and $10 a month without. It joins an increasingly crowded fray of services from Netflix, Hulu, Disney, AT&T, and NBCUniversal, among others. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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E-COMMERCE

Online sales of Adidas and Nike hurt by Chinese boycott

Online sales of Adidas and Nike plunged in China after a boycott of international brands that have taken a stand against the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, reflecting the blow to businesses that cross Beijing’s political lines. Sales in the Adidas store on Alibaba’s Tmall — China’s largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform —- slumped by 78 percent in April from a year ago, while Nike’s dropped by 59 percent, according to analysis done by Morningstar. Fast Retailing’s clothing brand Uniqlo, also targeted by the boycott, dropped by more than 20 percent. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CRUISE SHIPS

Norwegian head says US cruises cannot resume in July

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio said July sailings from the United States are no longer possible, given the time it takes to get a ship ready to sail. He didn’t give a specific timeline, but the industry generally has said that it needs 90 days to prepare a ship. Del Rio’s comments come a day after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined new rules for returning to the seas. The new rules outlined Wednesday create two parallel paths for cruise companies to return to US waters. They can start paying cruises again with certain limitations, provided 95 percent of passengers and 98 percent of crew are vaccinated. If they don’t meet the vaccination requirement, they can run simulated cruises with nonpaying volunteers for each ship in their fleet, essentially proving the safety of their vessels. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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RETAIL

Coach, Wrangler, and Lee sales jump as shoppers return

Strong sales results from Tapestry, Coach’s parent, as well as from the maker of Wrangler and Lee jeans offer the latest evidence that shoppers’ spending on fashion and accessories is rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. Tapestry on Thursday reported fiscal third-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates as spending on luxury goods rebounded from a deep malaise last year. The company, which also makes Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman products, swung to a profit from a year-ago loss and reported a 19 percent sales increase for the period ended March 27. Wrangler and Lee maker Kontoor Brands Inc. swung to a profit from a year ago and enjoyed a 29 percent increase in sales for the period. — ASSOCIATED PRESS