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TALKING POINTS

Banga only candidate to head World Bank

Former Mastercard CEO Ajay BangaHollie Adams/Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloom

FINANCE

Banga only candidate to head World Bank

The Biden administration’s choice to run the World Bank — former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga — appears to have a lock on the job. The World Bank said Thursday that Banga was the only candidate nominated in a search that began more than a month ago. The current president of the 189-nation poverty-fighting organization, David Malpass, announced last month that he would step down in June, nearly a year before his five-year term was due to expire in April 2024. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

H & M shares soar after stock backlog is reduced

H & M shares jumped the most in two decades as the Swedish clothing retailer made progress in reducing an inventory buildup that has plagued the company for more than six years. The stock rose more than 17 percent after the company reported inventory dropped to the lowest level in proportion to sales since 2020. That added about $3 billion to H&M’s market value. A $4 billion pile of unsold clothes has been one of chief executive Helena Helmersson’s largest headaches, leading the company to rely on heavy discounting. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

FINANCE

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Wall Street bonuses down as profits lag

Average Wall Street bonuses dropped sharply last year to $176,700 amid lagging profits and recession fears, New York state’s comptroller reported Thursday. The bonuses for employees in New York City’s securities industry dropped 26 percent from 2021, when the average was a record $240,400, according to New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s annual estimate. DiNapoli noted that bonuses last year returned to pre-pandemic levels. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Roku Inc. signage on a Smart television in an arranged photograph in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York on May 2, 2021.Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg

STREAMING

Roku to lay off about 200

Roku said it would restructure its business and cut about 200 employees, or 6 percent of its workforce, in the process. An unspecified amount of unused office space will be vacated or sublet as Roku moves to “prioritize projects the company believes will have a higher return on investment,” it said in a regulatory filing Thursday. San Jose, Calif.-based Roku, which makes set-top boxes used to stream services like Netflix, said it estimated one-time costs of $30 million to $35 million to cover severance payments and other charges. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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EQUITY

Women started half of new US businesses for a third year

Women created about half of new US businesses for the third year in a row in 2022, largely driven by a desire for flexibility and financial stability. That compares to just 29 percent before the pandemic, according to a survey by small business payroll firm Gusto Inc. And women are generally more likely to say their business has done better than expected. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

Cash-squeezed Britons eating expired food, taking less medicine

More Britons are saving money by eating food past its expiration date and by taking less prescription medicine after being squeezed by a winter of double-digit inflation. A quarter of young people on prescription medicine are using less to reduce spending, and more than a fifth of all Britons are eating products past their use-by dates because of soaring food inflation, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen which displays the TikTok home screen on March 18, 2023 in Boston. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

SOCIAL MEDIA

TikTok does a poor job of monitoring Russian propaganda

A year ago, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, TikTok started labeling accounts operated by Russian state propaganda agencies as a way to tell users they were being exposed to Kremlin disinformation. An analysis a year later shows the policy has been applied inconsistently. It ignores dozens of accounts with millions of followers. Even when used, labels have little impact on Russia’s ability to exploit TikTok’s powerful algorithms as part of its effort to shape public opinion about the war. Researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic nonprofit operated by the German Marshall Fund that studies authoritarian disinformation, identified nearly 80 TikTok accounts operated by Russian state outlets like RT or Sputnik, or by individuals linked to them, including RT’s editor-in-chief. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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MORTGAGES

Rates lowest in six weeks

The average long-term US mortgage rate inched down this week to its lowest level in six weeks, just as the spring buying season gets underway. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate fell for the third straight week, to 6.32 percent, from 6.42 percent last week. The average rate a year ago was 4.67 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

INTERNATIONAL

EU boosts renewable energy in bloc

European Union countries and negotiators from the EU’s parliament reached a provisional deal Thursday to raise the share of renewables in the bloc’s energy mix, another step to accelerate its green transition. The European Council, which represents the 27 member nations, said the agreement reached after all-night negotiations would raise the renewable energy target to 42.5 percent of total consumption by 2030. The current goal is 32 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

People relax in the shade of an umbrella on South Beach in Miami Beach, Fla., on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021. Scott McIntyre/NYT

WORKPLACE

More than half of US workers don’t use all their vacation time

Spring break is here, and summer vacations are just around the bend. But while increasingly stressed-out US workers say having paid time off is critical, many still don’t even take all that they’re allowed. Only 48 percent of US workers say they use all their vacation days, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Those who don’t take all their time off say it’s because they don’t need it, or they worry about falling behind at work or feel badly about co-workers carrying their load. A few even think vacation time hurts their chances for promotions or could cost them their job. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Big advertisers continue to shun Twitter

In the weeks after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, hundreds of advertisers paused spending on the platform, wary of the changes the mercurial billionaire might bring to the social media platform. Months later, many still haven’t returned, despite efforts by Twitter’s sales team to woo them back with steep discounts and new safety tools. From September to October of last year, the top 10 advertisers on Twitter spent $71 million on ads, according to estimates from Pathmatics. In the past two months, that figure dropped to just $7.6 million, a decline of 89 percent, the research firm said. Despite a slight uptick in daily users since early 2022, Twitter’s revenue has fallen by 50 percent since October as a result of a “massive decline” in advertising, Musk said earlier this month. Major brands such as Mondelez International, Coca-Cola, Merck, Hilton, and AT&T still hadn’t resumed ad spending on the platform as of February, according to Pathmatics. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Companies look to make money from returns they once tossed

Americans returned about $212 billion worth of online merchandise last year — clothes, electronics, sporting goods, and more that was often liquidated for pennies on the dollar or simply tossed in landfills. Despite the massive waste and losses, retailers have long seen returns as a cost of doing business. Now, with companies looking to cut expenses as the pandemic-era shopping boom fizzles, start-ups with names like Loop Returns and Two Boxes have emerged promising to help retailers make the returns process more efficient — and even profitable. So far these firms are mostly working with smaller brands, such as Allbirds, hospital scrubs maker Figs, and apparel seller Aviator Nation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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