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RETAIL

remarks spur Staples, Office Depot shares higher

WASHINGTON — Shares of Staples and Office Depot soared after a federal judge accused the government of trying to bend a witness’s testimony in its case against a merger of the last two major US office-supply chains. Office Depot Inc. shares rose 9 percent Thursday as investors grew hopeful that the proposed $6.3 billion merger will be allowed over the government’s objections. Staples Inc. shares jumped 7 percent. The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block the merger, contending it would dampen competition and allow the new combined company to dictate the price of supplies. The regulators in December rejected Staples’ offer to sell $1.25 billion in contracts to work around the competition issues. Staples is the largest ‘‘big box’’ office-supply chain. Office Depot is its second-ranked rival. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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TRAVEL

Parking rates to rise at Logan Airport

Daily parking rates at Logan Airport are going up by more than $10 in the coming years. By 2021, it will cost $41 to park in the terminal garage and $32 to leave your car in the economy lot. Currently, parking at the terminal lot —the one closest to the gates — costs $29. The economy lot costs $20 a day. Those rates are already set to increase by $3 at the end of June and the Massachusetts Port Authority Board approved additional increases on Thursday to help finance extensive improvements to the airport. The first $3 a day increase will kick in on 2017, with additional price hikes of $3 for the daily rate planned for 2019 and 2021. Economy parkers will be spending 60 percent more by 2021, while terminal garage users will see their costs rise by 40 percent. — DEIRDRE FERNANDES

ENERGY

Eversource CEO got $9.7m in 2015

Utility Eversource Energy disclosed Thursday that its chief executive, Thomas May (right), received a 7.8 percent pay increase in 2015, bringing his total compensation to around $9.7 million. That was about $700,000 more than he received in the prior year, with May getting both a bump in his base salary and a larger stock award. During 2015 Eversource’s stock fell about 5 percent. It has since climbed more than 10 percent for the year, and closed Thursday at $57.83 Thursday. In Connecticut the company recently came under fire from US Senator Richard Blumenthal, who accused Eversource of misusing the H1-B visa program to outsource 200 information-technology jobs two years ago. Eversource denies any wrongdoing. — DAN ADAMS

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RETAIL

Mass. association points to loss in members

Sales tax collections trended upward, and employers added thousands of new jobs each month, making the state economy look fairly strong in 2015. But the Retailers Association of Massachusetts said it saw a 34 percent surge in members who dropped out of the organization because they went out of business. The statistic was particularly noteworthy because the number of closure-related dropouts held steady from 2011 through 2014, in the 130 range annually, before rising to 174 last year, said Jon Hurst, the association’s president. “We were taken aback by it,” said Hurst, whose statewide group has roughly 3,500 members, most of them mom-and-pop shops and other small businesses, including restaurants. “It’s a little scary. I’m kind of concerned that there’s a real profitability issue. Too many of them are going out of business, and new entrepreneurs aren’t coming in to replace them.” — JON CHESTO

HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Talks may lead to TiVo, Rovi merger

TiVo, the digital video recorder company that popularized the DVR and revolutionized “time shifting” and fast-forwarding through advertising, is in advanced negotiations to be sold to Rovi, according to people briefed on the talks. The deal would merge TiVo and Rovi, which is one of the largest owners of patents for digital entertainment devices. Shareholders of TiVo would receive a combination of cash and stock, these people said, though the exact price was still being negotiated. After the deal, shareholders of TiVo, which has a market value of $750 million, would probably own about 30 percent of the combined company, these people said. Rovi’s market value is about $1.7 billion. The transaction would end the independence of TiVo, a perennial takeover target that included a raft of speculated suitors: Apple, Google, and Microsoft among them. — THE NEW YORK TIMES

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MARKETS

SEC says Exxon Mobil can’t block global warming shareholder proposal

The Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected Exxon Mobil’s bid to block a shareholder proposal that would require it to disclose how its business will be affected by a 2-degree target limit on global warming. The SEC Office of Chief Counsel said it disagrees with the Irving, Texas-based oil company that the proposal is ‘‘so inherently vague and indefinite’’ that neither shareholders nor Exxon Mobil could be certain what it requires. The office also rejected the contention that the proposal can be excluded because the company’s current public disclosures ‘‘compare favorably’’ with the proposal’s guidelines. The resolution will be included in Exxon Mobil’s proxy document sent to shareholders next month, along with the board’s position opposing it, company spokesman Alan Jeffers said Thursday. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joined with the Church of England’s investment fund and others in filing the proposal. New York’s pension fund for public workers has about $1 billion invested in Exxon Mobil. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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ECONOMY

Rise in jobless claims lower than expected

Filings for US unemployment benefits last week rose less than economists forecast as the number of dismissals stayed consistent with a firm labor market. Initial jobless claims increased by 6,000 to 265,000 in the period ended March 19, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 269,000. Hiring managers are demonstrating a preference to maintain and build staff as domestic demand continues to hold up. Tighter employment conditions are helping to buoy the economic outlook in the face of sluggish overseas growth.The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, was little changed at 259,750 compared with 259,500 in the prior week. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ECONOMY

Durable goods orders fell in February

Orders for durable goods fell in February for the third time in four months, reflecting a broad-based slowdown that underscores lingering softness in US capital investment. Bookings for goods and materials meant to last at least three years declined 2.8 percent after a 4.2 percent gain that was less the previously reported, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft dropped 1.8 percent, more than estimated. Limited progress by companies in bringing inventories more in line with sales has led to thinner order books at the nation’s factories. Tepid global markets, the dollar’s advance, and a slump in commodity prices also have led overseas customers to pare bookings as manufacturing remains a weak spot of the economy. The decline in orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for future business investment in items such as computers, engines, and communications gear, exceeded the median forecast for a 0.5 percent decrease. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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