Talking Points


Head of investment firm previously based in Mass. resigns after ALS diagnosis


Head of firm previously based in Mass. resigns after ALS diagnosis

The head of an investment firm previously based in Massachusetts is stepping down after revealing he has been diagnosed with ALS. Sean Healey will be replaced as chief executive of Affiliated Managers Group by his top lieutenant, Nathaniel Dalton. AMG is currently based in West Palm Beach, Fla., but it was headquartered in Beverly for many years, and Healey was a prominent member of the Massachusetts business community during that time. He is the former husband of Kerry Healey, Babson College president and former Massachusetts lieutenant governor. Healey moved the headquarters of the company to Florida about three years ago, several years after he bought a home in the Palm Beach area. He will remain actively involved in the company as its executive chairman while he pursues treatment. AMG disclosed Healey’s ailment, formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, on Tuesday. Dalton, a longtime friend of Healey’s, has been chief operating officer of AMG since 2006, and was named president in 2011. He joined the fund company in 1996 as its first general counsel. Patrick Ryan, the company’s lead independent director, said Dalton’s appointment reflects the company’s “thoughtful, deliberate succession planning.” — JON CHESTO


Four most populous states have the highest total credit card debt

The New York state comptroller’s office says the nation’s four most-populated states carry the highest total amount of credit card debt, with California leading the way followed by Texas, Florida, and New York. Democratic Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says in a report released Tuesday that Californians had racked up more than $106.8 billion in credit card debt by the end of 2017. The Lone Star State was No. 2 at $67.3 billion, followed by Florida with $59.2 billion and New York with $58.1 billion. Rounding out the top 10 are Pennsylvania ($33.2 billion), Illinois ($32.2 billion), New Jersey ($29.6 billion), Ohio ($26.7 billion), Virginia ($26.5 billion) and Georgia ($26.3 billion). DiNapoli says the totals were based on statistics compiled in February by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Home prices jump in March

US home prices climbed in March with buyers paying a premium for ownership as the number of properties up for sale declines, and mortgage rates increase. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday increased 6.8 percent in March from a year earlier. The sharpest gains were in Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, each of which reported prices rising in excess of 11 percent. The home price index is slightly higher than the 2006 peak, before the housing market and the economy crashed. The steadily improving economy has helped bring back buyers and higher prices. Home prices are outstripping wage growth easily. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Facebook to offer WhatsApp payment services in India


Facebook Inc. is set to offer its WhatsApp payment services to the whole of India as early as next week in an attempt to win market share, even though its partners aren’t all ready, said people familiar with the matter. The messaging app will partner HDFC Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., and Axis Bank Ltd. to process the transfers, and State Bank of India will join once it has the necessary systems in place, the people said. The entry of Whatsapp into India’s payments space has been likened to WeChat, which reshaped payments in China when it expanded beyond messaging. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


De Beers says that man-made diamonds can be forever, too

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De Beers, which almost single-handedly created the allure of diamonds as rare, expensive, and the symbol of eternal love, now wants to sell you some party jewelry that is anything but. The company announced Tuesday that it will start selling man-made diamond jewelry at a fraction of the price of mined gems, marking a historic shift for the world’s biggest diamond miner, which vowed for years that it wouldn’t sell stones created in laboratories. The strategy is designed to undercut rival lab-diamond makers, who having been trying to make inroads into the $80 billion gem industry. De Beers will target younger spenders with its new diamond brand and try to capture customers that have been resistant to splurging on expensive jewelry. De Beers is hoping to create big price gap with its new product, which will sell under the name Lightbox in the United States. A 1-carat man-made diamond sells for about $4,000 and a similar natural diamond fetches roughly $8,000. The lab diamonds from De Beers will sell for about $800 a carat. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Fortnite a hit with women

In an industry known for high levels of testosterone, “Fortnite” has become the hottest game going partly because of its appeal to an unlikely cohort: women. Like ‘‘Survivor’’ meets ‘‘The Most Dangerous Game,’’ “Fortnite” pits 100 stranded players against one another in a violent battle to the death. Many of its 45 million players participate on mobile devices, and among them, almost half are women, according to research firm Apptopia Inc. For rival games, like the latest versions of “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto”, it’s more like one in three or fewer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Lowe’s to stop selling paint strippers with dangerous chemicals

Lowe’s, the large home improvement retailer, announced Tuesday that it would no longer sell paint strippers that contain the chemicals methylene chloride and NMP, which have been blamed in dozens of accidental deaths. The Obama administration, in its final days, concluded that the two chemicals represented “unreasonable risks” and moved to ban them for use as paint strippers. But the Environmental Protection Agency has not enacted the ban. For now, Lowe’s says it will voluntarily remove from its shelves 19 products that contain either of the chemicals, which go by such brand names as Klean Strip, Goof Off, and Jasco, many of them made by W.M. Barr in Memphis. The products will be removed by the end of the year, the company said. — NEW YORK TIMES


Canadian farmers plant a bumper crop of chickpeas to satisfy hummus appetite

The rising appetite for hummus is driving Canada’s farmers to plant the biggest chickpea crop in 11 years. They’re poised to plant 346,000 acres this season, more than double what was sowed last year, the agriculture ministry said last week in a report. At the same, they’re reducing the area planted with other so-called pulses, such as peas and lentils, amid steep import tariffs in India, the biggest buyer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Company that bought Panera Bread to buy Pret A Manger


The restaurant chain Pret A Manger is being acquired by the European investment firm that bought Panera Bread last year. JAB Holding Co., based in Luxembourg, did not disclose the financial terms of its deal with the current owner, the private equity firm Bridgepoint. The sale is expected to close this summer. Pret has 530 locations, known largely for sandwiches and salads. Its biggest presence is the United Kingdom, where it is based, but it also runs restaurants overseas, including in the US. JAB bought Panera last year for more than $7 billion. JAB also has controlling stakes in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co. — ASSOCIATED PRESS