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TALKING POINTS

AGs asked to oppose rule that could impede clean energy expansion

Joe Curtatone is the new head of the Northeast Clean Energy Council.Nicolaus Czarnecki/BH

ENERGY

AGs asked to oppose rule that could impede clean energy expansion

Joe Curtatone, the new head of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, is seeking help from state attorneys general across New England, including Maura Healey in Massachusetts, to oppose the continuation of a rule that he says hurts the expansion of renewable energy in the region. Grid operator ISO New England plans to seek permission from federal regulators to continue what’s known as the “minimum offer price rule” for another two years, to help ensure the grid’s reliability. The rule in question essentially prevents most state-subsidized energy generators, such as wind and solar plants, from bidding into the potentially lucrative market for providing backup electricity at times of peak demand. ISO New England is including a provision to allow some renewable projects to participate over the next two years, but Curtatone believes the rule should be ended as soon as possible to expedite the transition to a greener grid. He is asking the attorneys general to formally oppose this rule extension before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency in charge of approving it. — JON CHESTO

FINANCE

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Wellington has a new CFO

Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest investment management firms, will promote Erin Murphy to chief financial officer, to succeed Edward Steinborn when he retires from the asset manager in mid-2023. Murphy, who will report to CEO Jean Hynes, is currently a senior managing director and partner, and also most recently was head of investment strategy at Wellington. She’s been with the firm since 2001. — JON CHESTO

MORTGAGES

Rates highest in more than two years

Average long-term mortgage rates jumped last week to their highest level in more than two years, potentially bumping some homebuyers out of the market with Americans getting squeezed by higher costs for just about everything. The average rate on the 30-year loan jumped nearly a quarter point to 3.69 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday. After rising nearly a half-point early in the year, the average long-term rate had been flat for three weeks. A year ago, the long-term rate was 2.73 percent. Although it’s still historically low, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage hasn’t been this high since the first week of January 2020 when it was 3.72 percent. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, was 2.93 percent. It stood at 2.77 percent a year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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STREAMING

Disney+ outpaces Netflix

Walt Disney Co. added 11.8 million subscribers for its Disney+ service in the quarter ended Jan. 1, far above the 8.17 million that Wall Street had projected. Netflix, by contrast, said last month it would add only 2.5 million new customers this quarter. With business picking up at Disney’s theme parks as the pandemic eases, its shares are starting to recover from their slump from the record set in March. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MUSIC

Sting latest musician to sell his catalog

Universal Music Group’s publishing division bought Sting’s career catalog of songs in its latest music rights acquisition. Universal didn’t disclose the deal’s value but said it marks “one of the most significant catalog acquisitions in music history.” The company purchased Bob Dylan’s entire song catalog in 2020 in a pact worth more than $300 million. A cofounder, frontman, and bassist of The Police, Sting has sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career. The deal comprises both Sting’s solo works and those with The Police, including “Roxanne” and “Every Breath You Take,” Universal said in a statement on Thursday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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VIDEO

YouTube to offer metaverse experiences

YouTube said it will start creating metaverse experiences on its video platform, beginning with gaming, following competitors’ investments in the buzzy category. The world’s largest video site, owned by Google, has supported virtual-reality videos since 2016. Google released its VR platform Cardboard in 2014 and a much-derided augmented reality device, Google Glass, in 2013. Still, the company has been slower than rivals to discuss its plans for the much-hyped metaverse — an immersive digital world where users will interact with digital objects and one another. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

BEVERAGES

Coke and Pepsi both rebound

Coca-Cola’s revenue rose 10 percent to $9.5 billion in the fourth quarter as coffee shops, movie theaters, and other venues continued to reopen. For the first time since the pandemic began, the volume of Coke products being sold for use outside of the home, exceeded the levels recorded in 2019. Rival PepsiCo also reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results Thursday. Pepsi’s net revenue grew 12 percent to $25.2 billion, better than the $24 billion Wall Street was anticipating. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Activist investor makes move to take over Kohl’s board

Activist investor Macellum Capital Management has nominated 10 directors in an effort to take control of Kohl’s Corp.’s board, arguing the retailer’s leadership “appears to be botching a sale process.” Jonathan Duskin, Macellum’s managing partner, said in a letter to shareholders Thursday that the board’s rejection of two takeover proposals at a substantial premium last week, along with the adoption of an “onerous” poison pill, suggests it’s no longer acting impartially or objectively. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter to buy back stock

Twitter announced a $4 billion stock buyback on Thursday, which helped buoy its shares amid an otherwise lackluster earnings report. Revenue in the holiday quarter rose 22 percent to $1.57 billion, slightly less than analysts had predicted but suggesting the company has weathered recent changes by Apple on data privacy better than some larger rivals. Sales in the current period will be as much as $1.27 billion, Twitter said Thursday in a statement, while the average projection was $1.26 billion. The company added 6 million new users in the fourth quarter, bringing average daily active users to 217 million. That’s up 13 percent from a year earlier. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

WORKPLACE

California sues Tesla alleging racial discrimination at plant

California’s civil rights regulator said it’s suing Tesla for racial discrimination after finding widespread harassment of Black workers at the electric carmaker’s factory near San Francisco. The state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing received complaints from hundreds of workers and “found evidence that Tesla’s Fremont factory is a racially segregated workplace where Black workers are subjected to racial slurs and discriminated against in job assignments, discipline, pay, and promotion creating a hostile work environment,” Kevin Kish, the agency’s director, said in a statement late Wednesday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

California becomes first state to register more than 1 million EVs

California has become the first state to register more than a million plug-in cars, with almost one-quarter of them arriving in 2021 alone, as electric vehicle sales finally accelerate after years of slow growth. In California’s case, reaching the 1-million milestone took 11 years. As of Dec. 31, California drivers had registered 663,014 purely electric cars and 379,125 plug-in hybrids, which use gasoline when not running on electricity. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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