Talking Points


Life sciences bill sent to the governor


Life sciences bill sent to the governor

The state Legislature finished up work Thursday on a life sciences bill, sending legislation to Governor Charlie Baker that would pump $473 million worth of capital spending into grants and authorize up to $30 million a year in tax incentives to help the industry. Proponents had hoped state lawmakers would finish in time for Baker to sign it at the BIO International Convention, an industry event attended by more than 16,000 people in Boston this week. But time ran out, and now Baker is expected to sign the bill later this month. The capital spending in the bill includes $150 million for various projects in the UMass system. The new legislation renews much of what was started under Governor Deval Patrick in 2008 when lawmakers approved a previous 10-year authorization to help the life sciences industry. — JON CHESTO


Bonding bill that includes North South Rail Link sent to Baker

Governor Charlie Baker may have to make a decision about the North South Rail Link after all. The Legislature sent a bonding bill on Thursday to Baker that includes a long wish list of earmarks. Among them: $10 million for the controversial project that would connect the North Station and South Station via a tunnel below downtown Boston. However, this bill just authorizes borrowing for the costs of environmental permitting work. It’s up to Baker’s administration — or his successor’s — to decide whether to spend the money. Many public officials in Massachusetts, particularly those from cities north of Boston, endorse the tunnel link. But Baker, like Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, is taking a wait-and-see approach. — JON CHESTO


Starbucks to raise prices

That Starbucks habit just got a little more expensive. Starbucks says it’s raising the price of a regular drip coffee by 10 cents to 20 cents this week in most US stores. It says a small brewed coffee is now $1.95 to $2.15 in a majority of locations. The company said Thursday prices remain unchanged on drinks such as lattes and iced coffees in most stores. Overall, Starbucks Corp. says it has hiked prices by an average of 1 to 2 percent in the past year, though the hike may be higher for particular drinks. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Buffett and Dimon want companies to stop predicting quarterly earnings


Investor Warren Buffett and JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon are encouraging public companies to stop predicting their quarterly earnings and focus on long-term goals. The two executives said on CNBC Thursday that companies that focus on hitting their quarterly numbers may do things that hurt them in the future, such as delaying investments or changing when certain gains are recorded. ‘‘When companies get where they’re sort of living by so-called making the numbers, they do a lot of things that really are counter to the long-term interests of the business,’’ Buffett said. Dimon, who also leads the Business Roundtable group, and Buffett co-wrote an article about why they think quarterly profit forecasts are hurting the economy. Dimon said companies might forego investments they should make in their business, such as marketing, hiring, or research to hit short-term goals. ‘‘It can put a company in a position where management from the CEO down feels obligated to deliver earnings, and therefore may do things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done,’’ Dimon said. Buffett has never provided profit forecasts and doesn’t even have an investor relations department at his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Walmart sues executive who defected to Amazon

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Walmart Inc. sued its former chief tax officer for violating her employment contract by defecting to online rival Amazon Inc. to become one of its senior tax executives. Lisa Wadlin, Walmart’s senior vice president and top tax executive, wrongfully left the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain last month to move to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Walmart officials said Wednesday in a lawsuit. Over the past three years, Walmart has spent billions to revitalize its once-moribund Web unit, expanding delivery options, hiring fresh talent, and making acquisitions. While sales soared last year, the spending has taken a toll on profitability. When the company reported slowing online growth and disappointing margins during the critical holiday quarter, investors pummeled the stock. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates fall for second week

Long-term US mortgage rates fell this week for the second straight week, providing a helpful jolt for potential home buyers. Last week’s decline followed weeks of increases that pushed long-term loan rates to their highest levels in seven years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.54 percent, down from 4.56 percent last week. The average benchmark rate has been running at its highest levels since 2011. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.89 percent a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans dipped to 4.01 percent from 4.06 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Ikea pledges to use renewable and recycled materials

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, pledged to use only renewable and recycled materials in its products as part of a plan to have a positive impact on the world’s climate by the end of the next decade. Ikea aims to reduce more greenhouse gases than its value chain emits by 2030 and will reach that goal by “drastically reducing the climate footprint of the products and operations in absolute terms,” it said in a statement on Thursday. The company will for example capture and store carbon and work with suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rich kids plan to fund their retirement with their inheritance

At first glance, it may look like brazen entitlement: Sixty-three percent of affluent children between the ages of 18 and 22 say financial stability in retirement will depend on inheriting money. As in, the money their parents spent a lifetime accumulating — or, given increasing income inequality, inherited themselves. But consider that this may be a signal of desperation, not greed. The rise in student debt, increased life expectancy, and the many competing priorities for money that are considered the “new normal” for younger generations have them wondering how they will pay for it all. According to Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge, which commissioned a survey of 1,000 “mass affluent” Americans, these young people view inheritance as a sort of safety net. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Honda and GM team up to develop batteries for electric vehicles


Honda Motor Co. of Japan and General Motors Co. agreed Thursday to work together in developing batteries for electric vehicles, mainly for the North American market. The companies will collaborate based on GM’s next-generation battery system, both sides said. That will allow both manufacturers to continue to keep distinct products, while saving on costs for customers, they said. Detroit-based GM and Tokyo-based Honda already work together on fuel cell vehicles, which are zero-emission and run on the power created when hydrogen fuel combines with oxygen in the air to produce water. They have a manufacturing joint venture to produce a hydrogen fuel cell system in 2020, including trying to make fuel cells and hydrogen storage more affordable. — ASSOCIATED PRESS