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CASINOS

Encore Boston Harbor has strongest quarter ever

The Encore Boston Harbor casino and hotel reported its strongest quarter yet, as measured by operating profit, after two years of operations that included shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Owner Wynn Resorts reported on Wednesday that the Everett casino had a record quarter, with an adjusted operating profit (aka EBITDA) of $46.9 million, and an operating profit margin of nearly 30 percent. Wynn chief financial officer Craig Billings said this strong earnings report is due in no small part to expense controls put in place during the pandemic: The casino had operating expenses of $870,000 a day during the quarter, excluding gaming taxes, compared to $1.3 million in the last quarter of 2019. Wynn recently increased its operating hours at the casino, but has not yet brought back poker tables to the casino. CEO Matt Maddox said the company’s overall results were strong as well. He said the Delta variant is “throwing a little bit of a curveball” but expects it will be a short-term issue that will subside. — JON CHESTO

LAB EQUIPMENT

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Waters Corp. had a good second quarter

A rising tide of demand continued to lift Waters Corp. in its second quarter, with a 31 percent year-over-year sales gain that prompted the Milford-based manufacturer of lab equipment to raise its full-year projections. Sales at the company rose to $682 million in the recently-ended quarter, compared to $520 million a year ago. As a result, Waters is projecting sales growth for the full year of 13 percent to 15 percent, compared to an earlier forecast of 9 to 11 percent, chief executive Udit Batra said. Sales were particularly strong among the company’s pharmaceutical and industrial clients. Shares in Waters have nearly doubled in the past year, roughly since Batra took over as CEO. Under his watch, the company has been stepping up its sales of replacement instruments to existing customers and focusing on the fast-growing contract research organization industry that serves drug companies, as well as launching several new products. — JON CHESTO

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WORKPLACE

Amazon is the latest to delay the return to the office

Amazon says corporate employees won’t have to return to the office regularly until January, becoming the latest big company to postpone its resumption of regular work habits as COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant surge in the United States. The largest online retailer told employees in an e-mail on Thursday that they should plan to begin coming in to offices the week of Jan. 3. Amazon had previously said its office workers in the United States and several other countries should resume their jobs mostly on-site beginning the week of Sept. 7. The mandate will apply to office workers in the Boston area, a company spokesman told the Globe. Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, employs more than 20,000 workers in Massachusetts, including corporate and manufacturing employees. Roughly 4,000 workers are employed in the Boston and Cambridge area, with another 3,000 workers likely to be added in the coming years. A company spokesman could not confirm whether plans to house 2,000 workers in the Seaport District by early next year remained on schedule, or were delayed because of the new return to office date. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

PIZZA

Sales still booming at Papa John’s

Papa John’s posted second-quarter sales that beat analysts’ expectations — showing that diners are still hungry for pizza more than a year into the pandemic. For the key metric of same-store sales, the pizza chain reported a 5.2 percent gain in North America — well above analysts’ average estimate of 1.1 percent. International same-store sales also came in higher than Wall Street expectations. Pizza delivery chains and fast-food restaurants, with their socially distant business models, have seen levels of growth that sit-down restaurants and their investors have only yearned for since the outbreak. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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MEDIA

Creators of ‘South Park’ sign deal with ViacomCBS

The creators of “South Park” have signed a new deal with ViacomCBS Inc. that will pay them more than $900 million over the next six years, one of the richest deals in TV history. Trey Parker and Matt Stone will use the money to make new episodes of “South Park” for Viacom’s Comedy Central network and to create several spinoff movies for the company’s Paramount+ streaming service, the parties said Thursday. Their first project under the new deal will be a movie set in the world of “South Park” that will debut some time before the end of the year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ECONOMY

Trade deficit at a record level in June

The US trade deficit increased to a record $75.7 billion in June as a rebounding American economy sent demand for imports surging. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the deficit rose 6.7 percent from a revised May deficit of $71 billion. The June deficit set a record, topping the old mark of $75 billion set in March. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and what it purchases from other countries. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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MORTGAGES

Rates little changed

Mortgage rates were flat to lower last week, with the average for the key 30-year home loan below 3 percent for the sixth straight week. Uncertainty over the surging delta coronavirus variant and its potential effect on the US economic recovery remained as a backdrop suppressing mortgage rates. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average for the 30-year mortgage fell to 2.77 percent from 2.80 percent last week. The benchmark rate, which reached a peak this year of 3.18 percent in April, stood at 2.88 percent a year ago. The rate for a 15-year loan, a popular option among homeowners refinancing their mortgages, remained at a historically low 2.10 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MARKETS

Robinhood stock crashes to earth as shareholders file to sell nearly 100 million shares

Robinhood Markets Inc. stock tumbled Thursday after shareholders filed to sell nearly 100 million Class A common shares less than a week after its initial public offering. The trading platform’s stock dropped more than 27 percent to close at $50.97 after early investors proposed to sell up to 97.88 million of shares over time. None of the proceeds will be received by Robinhood, with the selling stockholders getting all of the funds from the sales, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The listed sellers are some of Robinhood’s biggest investors and together combine to hold more than one-third of the firm’s current outstanding shares. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

REAL ESTATE

Owner of N.J. mega mall taps reserves to make bond payment

American Dream, a $5 billion super mall in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, had to tap into a reserve fund to make a bond payment as it copes with a cash flow crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus. The 3.3 million-square-foot behemoth, which features an indoor ski slope, amusement park, and water park, used the reserves to make a $9.3 million Aug. 2 payment on about $290 million of debt, according to a securities filing. American Dream has about $9.3 million left in the fund, enough to make its next debt payment on Feb. 1. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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