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TALKING POINTS

Commonwealth Fusion Systems raises $115m

(Mark Lennihan)

VENTURE CAPITAL

Commonwealth Fusion Systems raises $115m

Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Cambridge startup seeking to commercialize fusion energy, said Thursday that it raised $115 million from investors, completing its first round of venture financing. The Series A funding includes $50 million from Italian oil company Eni that CFS disclosed last year. Other investors in the round include Future Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Safar Partners, Schooner Capital, and Starlight Ventures. CFS is working with the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at MIT to develop what it hopes will be the first commercial system that creates power using nuclear fusion, or the forced combination of two hydrogen atoms into a single helium atom. Nuclear fusion, which drives the sun and hydrogen bombs, promises almost limitless energy with no carbon emissions that warm up the planet. Today’s nuclear power reactors split atoms, a process that leaves behind radioactive waste. CFS, which was founded by MIT scientists, said the funding will allow it demonstrate its high-temperature superconductor magnets by 2021 and a full power plant prototype by 2025. — LARRY EDELMAN

BANKING

State Street to pay more than $88m to settle charges of overcharging clients

State Street Bank and Trust Company has agreed to pay more than $88 million to settle charges the company overcharged clients. In a statement, the Securities and Exchange Commission said that State Street’s clients made arrangements with the firm to cover fees related to the handling of their assets. But the firm habitually overcharged clients, the SEC found, raking in $170 million between 1998 and 2015 by marking up expenses in violation of banking regulations. State Street agreed to discontinue such practices and pay $48.78 million in interest and disgorgement to affected companies, as well as a $40 million fine. In a statement, the company said the practice was a billing error it disclosed in 2015, and that the interest and disgorgement had already been paid in full. — MAX REYES

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DELIVERIES

Amazon to expand package pickup locations to Rite Aid stores

Amazon will add more than 1,500 package pickup locations in a partnership with the national pharmacy chain Rite Aid. Starting Thursday, customers will be able to pick up orders at more than 100 Rite Aid stores and that will jump to more than 1,500 by the end of the year. Major retailers broadsided by the lightening ascent of Amazon.com have discovered one advantage: physical locations where customers can pick up their items if they choose. Next month, Kohl’s will expand its partnership with Amazon when it begins accepting Amazon returns at all of its 1,150 stores. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

US economy grew at 3.1 percent in first quarter

The US economy grew at a healthy 3.1 percent rate in the first three months of this year, but signs are mounting that growth has slowed sharply in the current quarter amid slower global growth and a confidence-shaking trade battle between the United States and China. The gain in the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, was unchanged from an estimate made a month ago, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. However, the components of growth shifted slightly with stronger business investment and consumer spending slowing more than previously estimated. Economists believe growth has slowed sharply in the current April-June quarter to around 2 percent.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook to clarify how it makes money from selling user information

Facebook is updating its terms and services guidelines to clarify how it makes money from the personal information of its users. The changes reflect its ongoing attempts to satisfy regulators in the United States and Europe, which have urged the company to make sure users know what they are signing up for. The guideline changes, announced Thursday, are largely cosmetic. The updates don’t change Facebook’s underlying policies. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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MORTGAGES

Rates continue to fall

Long-term mortgage rates fell this week. It was the seventh decline in the past nine weeks for the key 30-year, fixed-rate loan, which reached its lowest level since November 2016. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage fell to 3.73 percent from 3.84 percent last week. By contrast, a year ago the rate stood at 4.55 percent. The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped this week to 3.16 percent from 3.25 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTOMOTIVE

Ford to cut 12,000 jobs in Europe

Carmaker Ford said Thursday it is shedding 12,000 jobs in Europe to increase profitability, part of a global trend of cost cuts by automakers facing shifting consumer tastes and heavy investments in electric cars. The job cuts are part of a broad restructuring at Ford that includes the already announced closure of six plants in Europe. Ford is reducing its total number of plants in the region to 18 and is reorganizing its business into three divisions: commercial vehicles, passenger cars and imports of Ford models such as the Mustang. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTOMOTIVE

Average age of cars and trucks in US hits a record 11.8 years

The average age of cars and trucks in the United States has hit a record 11.8 years, as better quality and technology allows people to keep them on the road longer. The 2019 figures from data provider IHS Markit show that the rate of increase is slowing, but the average age is still expected to go over 12 years early in the next decade. The average age is up 0.1 years from 2018. Western states have the oldest vehicles at 12.4 years, while in the Northeast the average age is only 10.9 years. That’s due largely to less stop-and-start traffic that wears on a vehicle. Weather conditions also play a part. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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BEVERAGES

Pepsi to experiment with Aquafina water in cans

PepsiCo Inc., facing an industrywide backlash against plastic, will experiment with putting its Aquafina water in cans. The beverage giant will begin selling the cans next year, offering them to partners such as stadiums and restaurants, PepsiCo said on Thursday. The company also will try out the repackaged product at some retail stores. If the new packaging catches on, it would be one of the highest-profile cases of companies ditching plastic. Aquafina is a top-selling water brand in the United States — along with Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani — and it’s nearly synonymous with the clear plastic bottles that have lined supermarket shelves for decades. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

COFFEE

Starbucks struggles in the UK

Starbucks Corp. reported an annual loss in its UK operations, saying foot traffic at its cafes declined in a downbeat economy and as consumers want coffee delivered to their homes or desks. The company’s British store arm lost 17.2 million pounds (about $22 million) in the year ended September 2018, after a profit of 4.6 million pounds a year earlier, according to a filing Thursday. While shutting weak locations, the company is expanding its roster of drive-through outlets in the UK, which already includes more than 100 owned and licensed shops. It has also begun delivery in London through a partnership with Uber Eats, which Starbucks plans to expand to other locations across Europe and the Middle East later this year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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