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GE unveils offshore wind turbine concept


GE unveils offshore wind turbine concept

GE wants to leapfrog its rivals in the offshore wind game. A distant No. 3 behind Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas, General Electric wants to up its game. That’s why the Boston-based company unveiled a 12-megawatt offshore wind turbine concept Thursday. GE says it’s twice as strong as its biggest offshore wind turbine and more powerful than any other turbine on the market. GE says it will invest more than $400 million over the next five years to develop and deploy the new turbine, known as the Haliade-X. John Lavelle, CEO of the France-based offshore wind division for GE, says the turbines could be ready to be shipped to clients by 2021, and to go online by 2022. Lavelle says he hopes to supply them to the offshore wind developers looking to build off Massachusetts, as well as other possible wind farms along the East Coast. The turbines would tower 850 feet above the water, with blades longer than a soccer field. They could be built on monopoles in waters up to 130 feet deep, or in deeper waters if put on foundations with lattice structures. — JON CHESTO


Maker of Smith & Wesson guns sees stock slide

American Outdoor Brands Corp., the maker of Smith & Wesson guns, plunged after warning of a lengthy sales slump. Consumer demand for firearms is falling to “new, lower levels” that “may continue for some time,” the company said in a statement Thursday as it reported earnings. American Outdoor said it’s cutting costs and repaying debt to weather the downturn. “We will operate our business under the assumption that the next 12-18 months could deliver flattish revenues in firearms,” chief executive James Debney said in the statement. The outlook underscored the drop in gun sales since President Trump won election in November 2016, easing a rush among gun buyers to stockpile weapons ahead of potential new federal restrictions. Firearm background checks compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a proxy for gun sales, fell 8.4 percent last year after increasing in 13 out of the last 14 years. The shares tumbled 19 percent to $7.62 in late trading. American Outdoor fell 27 percent this year through the close on Thursday after a 39 percent drop last year. Meanwhile, Kroger Co., the largest grocery chain in the United States, is joining Walmart Inc. and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. in tightening gun restrictions following last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Kroger’s Fred Meyer chain, which carries general merchandise in addition to groceries, will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to buyers under age 21, the company said on Thursday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



States seek to lure Delta as Ga. moves forward on threat

Governors from Connecticut, New York, and Virginia are taking advantage of a dispute between Georgia and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines over the company’s decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association, urging the airline to relocate. The Republican-controlled Georgia Legislature approved a tax bill Thursday that eliminates a fuel tax break that primarily benefits Delta. Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a Republican, had suggested removing the tax benefit as retribution for Delta’s decision after a deadly school shooting in Florida to stop offering discounted fares to NRA members. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, sent Delta CEO Ed Bastian a letter Wednesday, praising him for his ‘‘courage standing up to’’ the NRA following the shooting that left 17 people dead. He then took the opportunity to urge Bastian to consider his state as the new location for Delta’s headquarters. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



AAA forecasts high prices this spring

The highest gasoline prices in three years may force US consumers to change driving habits this spring, according to the nation’s biggest motoring group. Prices at the pump may climb to nearly $2.70 a gallon early April, the highest since the summer of 2015, amid increased demand and volatility in prices, according to AAA. Some states, like California, may even see a brief return of $4 a gallon. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Rates still climbing

Long-term US mortgage rates crept higher this week, marking the eighth straight week that it cost more to borrow to buy a home. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.43 percent this week from 4.40 percent last week. The new average for the benchmark rate is the highest since January 2014. The 30-year rate stood at 4.10 percent a year ago. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans advanced to 3.90 percent from 3.85 percent last week. Mortgage rates have risen steadily in January and February, as interest rates generally have increased in response to higher levels of government debt and expectations of rising inflation. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Exxon Mobil pulls out of joint venture with Russian oil producer

Exxon Mobil says it will withdraw from its joint venture with Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft due to US and European sanctions against the country. Exxon Mobil had signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil producer, in 2011 that aimed to drill in difficult terrain, like Russia’s Arctic waters. It combined Exxon’s technology with Rosneft’s access to the area. The deal came under strain, however, after the United States sanctioned Russia in 2014 over the invasion of Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The sanctions did not affect existing deals in the energy sector, but prohibited any business with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, an influential oligarch in Russia. That created a series of hurdles for the partnership. Exxon has applied for a waiver but without success. Last year, the US Treasury fined Exxon $2 million for signing new deals with Sechin in 2014. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Equifax says 2.4 million more Americans were impacted by 2017 data breach

Equifax said Thursday that an additional 2.4 million Americans were impacted by last year’s data breach, however these newly disclosed consumers had significantly less personal information stolen. The company says the additional consumers only had their names and a partial driver’s license number stolen by the attackers, unlike the original 145.5 million Americans who had their Social Security numbers impacted. Attackers were unable to get the state where the license was issued, the date of issuance or its expiration date. In total, roughly 147.9 million Americans have been impacted by Equifax’s data breach. It remains the largest data breach of personal information in history. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


US manufacturers expand in February

American manufacturers said they expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years — gains driven in part by a jump in hiring. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported Thursday that its manufacturing index climbed to 60.8 in February from 59.1 in January. This was the strongest reading since May 2014. Any score above 50 signals growth. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



CEO wants Twitter to become a better place

Jack Dorsey tweetstormed a plea for ways to make Twitter Inc.’s social network a nicer place by measuring “collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation.” The chief executive officer said Twitter accepted responsibility for inadvertently helping to spread misinformation, harassment, and manipulation via bots. He asked the public to propose solutions and, in an accompanying blog, cited work in this area by nonprofit Cortico. “We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers,” Dorsey tweeted. “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.” Twitter said it will accept health metrics proposals through April 13. Congress has been investigating how social-media platforms like Twitter, Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube were manipulated during the election.


Uber offers to drive patients to appointments

Uber is driving deeper into health care by offering to take patients in every US market where it operates to their next medical appointment. The ride-hailing service said Thursday its Uber Health business will handle rides set up by doctor’s offices or other health care providers and then bill that business, not the patient, for the service. It says rides can be set up within a few hours or days in advance. Patients won’t need access to a smartphone to use the service. — BLOOMBERG NEWS