Hologic gets approval to sell 3-dimensional breast biopsy system

Federal regulators have cleared for US sale a new 3-dimensional breast biopsy system developed by Hologic Inc., the Marlborough-based company said Thursday. The system, called Affirm, is already on the market in Europe. Hologic, which sells a broad portfolio of breast imaging systems, diagnostic products, and surgical tools, said Affirm is a table-based biopsy system that for the first time lets doctors use 3-dimensional imaging on patients lying in a prone position. Food and Drug Administration regulators approved the system under a faster process, called 510(k), used for medical devices that represent modifications or improvements to devices already on the US market for specific categories, such as breast imaging. Hologic has more than 4,000 employees worldwide. It has Massachusetts operations at its headquarters campus in Marlborough and a manufacturing site in Bedford. — ROBERT WEISMAN



Biogen earnings top expectations

Biogen, which last year announced job cuts and other cost reductions to offset weak earnings, easily topped Wall Street expectations for the first quarter and shares rose sharply Thursday. Spending on research and development was $437 million, down from $542 in the previous quarter, and less than the $461 million in the same quarter last year. Total costs fell to $1.35 billion, from $1.44 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income rose to $971 million, or $4.43 per share. Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, per share earnings were $4.79 per share, which was 31 cents better than Wall Street had expected, according to a poll of analysts by Zacks Investment Research. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


European Central Bank keeps rates unchanged

The European Central Bank left its main interest rates and stimulus tools unchanged at its meeting Thursday, with its president forcefully arguing that the bank’s aggressive monetary policy moves had bolstered economic growth and warded off negative inflation in the eurozone. The decision by the central bank’s Governing Council, its main policy board, to stand pat was expected by analysts as the bank measures the impact of a wide-ranging set of aggressive moves it took last month to stimulate the eurozone’s moribund economy.



FBI spent more than $1.3 million to break into iPhone

The FBI’s hack into a terrorist’s iPhone didn’t come cheap. FBI Director James Comey (right) said the US paid more than he will make in salary over the rest of his term to secure a hacking tool to break into a mobile phone used by a dead terrorist in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack last year. The purchase ended one dispute with Apple Inc. over accessing mobile phones with increasingly sophisticated encryption software that is stymieing law enforcement officials across the United States. The law enforcement agency paid “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is 7 years and 4 months,” Comey said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in London. “It was, in my view, worth it.” Comey’s pay this year is $185,100, according to federal salary tables, indicating the tool cost the agency more than $1.3 million. FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms. — BLOOMBERG


Sears to close another 78 stores

Sears Holdings Corp. will close another 78 stores — 68 Kmarts and 10 Sears stores — as it looks to restore profitability. That accounts for about 5 percent of its store base, which is nearly 1,700 stores. The ailing company, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., had said in February that it would accelerate the closing of unprofitable stores following a ‘‘challenging’’ holiday season. The move announced Thursday is expected to generate a ‘‘meaningful level’’ of cash from the liquidation of store inventories and from the sale or sublease of some of the related real estate, it said Thursday. All 10 Sears stores and nearly all the Kmart stores will close in late July. Two Kmart stores will close in mid-September. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Millennial women save less than men for retirement

American women live longer than men, but they may have a hard time enjoying those few extra years if they don’t start putting aside more money. Only 54 percent of women defined as millennials have a retirement savings account, compared with 67 percent of men, according to a survey conducted last month by Harris Poll for Personal Capital, a financial advisory firm. — BLOOMBERG


Ranks of new CEOs includes just one woman

Exactly one of the 87 new CEOs named to lead the largest public companies in the United States or Canada in 2015 was a woman, according to a new report. The study, released Tuesday by the strategy consulting division of PwC, examined the 2,500 largest global companies and found that among the 359 permanent or interim CEOs named in 2015, only 10 of them — worldwide — were female. At 2.8 percent of all new CEOs, that’s the lowest rate since 2011, according to the study. — WASHINGTON POST


Rates stay low

Long-term US mortgage rates stayed near 2016 lows this week, potentially good news for the housing market as the spring home-buying season begins. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 3.59 percent from 3.58 percent last week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 2.85 percent, lowest since May 2013, and down from 2.86 percent last week. The rate on five-year adjustable rate mortgages slipped to 2.81 percent from 2.84 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Jobless claims at lowest level since 1973

Jobless claims unexpectedly decreased to the lowest level since 1973, indicating the US labor market remains a pillar of support in the world’s largest economy. New applications for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 247,000 in the week ended April 16, data from the Labor Department showed Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 265,000 claims. The number of Americans already on benefit rolls declined to a more than 15-year low. — BLOOMBERG