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Ten things you may have missed Thursday from the world of business


Cheap gas, better economy fueling holiday trips

Nearly 42 million Americans will travel for the Fourth of July holiday, according to AAA, motivated by a stronger economy and cheap gas. The auto club’s estimate of the number of people who will travel more than 50 miles this year is the highest since 2007. Of the 41.9 million leisure travelers, the group said 1,077,000 will come from Massachusetts, with 931,000 of them driving. Despite higher air fares than last year, the number of air travelers is expected to rise 1.5 percent, to 3.21 million leisure travelers. About 85 percent of vacationers will drive for the holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent from last year, and the number of people taking cruises, trains, or buses will increase 0.5 percent, to 3.2 million. — JACK NEWSHAM



Happy Meals buyers ordering less soda

NEW YORK — McDonald’s says fewer people are picking soda for Happy Meals after it stopped listing the drinks as an option on its menu boards. The world’s biggest hamburger chain said 48 percent of Happy Meals orders in the United States included soda as a beverage after it was scrubbed from menus and marketing materials between July of last year and May. That was down from 56 percent from the year-earlier period. The results were noted in a report commissioned by McDonald’s Corp. to track its progress on a pledge made in late 2013 with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


consumer spending surges in May

WASHINGTON — US consumer spending surged in May with the biggest monthly increase in nearly six years — a sign of stronger economic growth ahead. The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.9 percent last month, up from a revised 0.1 percent increase in April. May registered the biggest gain since August 2009, an indication the positive impacts from the solid pace of hiring and cheaper gasoline are starting to ripple through the economy. Personal income also increased a healthy 0.5 percent. The savings rate for after-tax income fell slightly, to 5.1 percent from 5.4 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



mortgage rates mixed this week

WASHINGTON — Long-term US mortgage rates were mixed this week, marking slight increases or declines but remaining close to high levels for the year. The mortgage giant Freddie Mac said the average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 4.02 percent, from 4 percent a week earlier. The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent. Mortgage rates have risen in recent weeks, in the midst of the spring homebuying season, as the economy shows signs of improvement. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Health care

state’s former health secretary joins Steward

John W. Polanowicz (left), former state secretary of health and human services, has taken a top executive role at Steward Health Care System, where he will help the company expand, Steward said Thursday. Steward, the largest for-profit hospital operator in Massachusetts, said Polanowicz will be executive vice president of network, insurance, and physician operations. He was president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, a Steward hospital in Brighton, before joining the administration of Deval Patrick, the former Democratic governor, in 2013. — PRIYANKA DAYAL McCLUSKEY


T-Mobile sweetens phone-upgrade program

NEW YORK — T-Mobile is revamping its phone-upgrade program by eliminating a $10 monthly charge for the most popular phones. The wireless carrier shattered longstanding industry practices two years ago by eliminating two-year service contracts and letting customers upgrade phones before they are paid off. T-Mobile charged $10 to participate in the Jump program, on top of the cost of the phone, paid in monthly installments. AT&T and Verizon soon followed with their own programs — but they didn’t charge the monthly fee. T-Mobile’s new Jump On Demand program makes customers eligible for upgrades automatically without paying that fee. They will be able to upgrade as many as three times a year, more frequently than what rivals allow. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Real estate

home buyers sue seller after learning of stalker

ELIZABETH, N.J. — A couple who said they were scared away from their new $1.4 million home (right) because of creepy letters from a stalker have sued the sellers for not telling them about a person with a ‘‘mentally disturbed fixation’’ on the house. Derek and Maria Broaddus said the former owners of the home in Westfield, 25 miles west of New York City, should have warned them about the person, who signs the letters as ‘‘The Watcher.’’ The Broadduses said they would never have bought the house if they had known about the letter writer. They are attempting to resell the house ‘‘as they are unable to live in the home without extreme anxiety and fear for their children’s safety and wellbeing,’’ according to their lawsuit. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Health care

FDA grants drug a priority review

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc. stock rose after the Food and Drug Administration prioritized the Cambridge company’s application to sell a pancreatic cancer drug. Merrimack and Baxalta Inc., an Illinois drug maker owned by Baxter International, said its drug MM-398 was granted “priority review” — meaning the FDA recognizes the drug “would provide significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment of serious conditions compared to available therapies,” Merrimack said. With priority review, the FDA must act on the drug application by Oct. 24. The stock rose 4.5 percent to $12.44. — JACK NEWSHAM


Illness sidelines Subway’s CEO

NEW YORK — Suzanne Greco will take over as president at Subway while her brother, a cofounder of the sandwich chain, is treated for leukemia. Greco will oversee day-to-day operations and report to her brother, Fred DeLuca (left) , who will remain CEO, the company said. Greco sits on Subway’s board and has been involved with the company since it opened its first store in 1965. She had already been overseeing the operations and marketing departments. Privately held Subway, based in Milford, Conn., has about 44,000 stores around the world. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Three automakers issue recalls

NEW YORK —Three automakers issued recalls Thursday: Mitsubishi is calling back 460,000 cars in the United States because their air bags could push sun visors into passengers and cause injuries in a crash. Five passengers have already been hurt; all had facial injuries and two lost sight in one eye. Mitsubishi said the first injury claim was in March 2006. The recall covers certain Eclipse sport coupes from the 2000-2005 model years and some Eclipse Spyders from 2001 to 2005, and certain other vehicles. Acura is recalling 106,000 SUVs; an air conditioner pulley can fall off, creating a hazard for other motorists. Affected are 2014 and 2015 MDX SUVs. Subaru is recalling some 2015 vehicles to fix a software problem that could cause the automatic braking to fail. The recall covers 72,000 Outback, Legacy, Impreza, and XV Crosstrek models with the Eyesight Driver Assist system. — ASSOCIATED PRESS