Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

Rubius Therapeutics to build manufacturing facility in R.I.

BIOTECH

Rubius Therapeutics
to build manufacturing facility in R.I.

Rubius Therapeutics, a Cambridge biotech, plans to build a 135,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Smithfield, R.I., after the State of Rhode Island on Thursday approved about $6.4 million in tax credits. The plant is expected to create 160 highly skilled jobs in manufacturing and biotech operations, according to Governor Gina M. Raimondo. Rubius is developing technology intended to turn our own red blood cells into potent new medicines. Rubius plans to invest up to $155 million over about five years to renovate a manufacturing facility in an existing building in Smithfield. The Board of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation approved tax credits through the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit Program and the Qualified Jobs Incentive Act. The estimated value of the Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit is about $2.75 million. The estimated value of the Qualified Jobs tax credits is about $370,000 a year over 10 years. The credits will be paid out after the jobs are created and employees have paid income tax for a full year. — JONATHAN SALTZMAN

GAMBLING

Two Atlantic City casinos reopen

A group guitar smashing and a more sedate ribbon cutting ushered in a renewed era of gambling in Atlantic City. Patrons streamed into two newly reopened casinos Thursday as the previously struggling gambling resort reclaimed its glitz and glamor, along with 6,000 of the 11,000 jobs it lost during a brutal stretch of casino shutdowns. The Hard Rock, which was the former Trump Taj Mahal, held a mass guitar smashing ceremony inside its concert arena, which holds nearly 8,000 fans. Just as that wrapped up, the Ocean Resort Casino, the former Revel, held a ribbon cutting a few hundred yards north on the boardwalk. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MORTGAGES

30-year rates
fall for fourth time in five weeks

Long-term mortgage rates were flat to lower this week. The benchmark 30-year rate marked its fourth decline in the past five weeks. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.55 percent, down from 4.57 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.88 percent a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans was unchanged from last week at 4.04 percent.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

CREDIT REPORTING

Former developer for Equifax charged with insider trading

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A former software developer for Equifax faces insider trading charges related to the company’s massive data breach last year, federal prosecutors in Atlanta said Thursday. Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, 44, used nonpublic information to determine Equifax had been breached last year before any public announcement and then bought put options that he exercised for a profit of more than $75,000 after the breach was announced, according to a court filing. Bonthu is the second former employee of the Atlanta-based credit reporting company to face insider trading charges related to last year’s data breach. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

TECHNOLOGY

Kroger to test delivering groceries with driverless cars

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Kroger Co. is about to test whether it can steer supermarket customers away from crowded grocery aisles with a fleet of diminutive driverless cars designed to lower delivery costs. The test program, announced Thursday, could make Kroger the first US grocer to make deliveries with robotic cars that won’t have a human riding along to take control in case something goes wrong. Cincinnati-based Kroger is teaming up with Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup founded two years ago by two engineers who worked on self-driving cars at Google. Customers will be able to order groceries from a mobile app, much as people summon an Uber or Lyft ride. After the order is placed, a driverless vehicle will deliver the groceries to a curb, requiring the customers to be present to fetch the items. The vehicles will probably be opened with a numeric code. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

COFFEE

Starbucks
CFO to retire

Starbucks Corp.’s chief financial officer will retire this year, sparking investor pessimism as the coffee giant already braces for a future without visionary leader Howard Schultz. Scott Maw’s retirement comes as Starbucks grapples with slowing sales in the United States, a tricky expansion in the key Chinese market, and the departure of longtime executive Schultz, who built the chain into a coffee powerhouse. The news sent the shares to their lowest point in almost three years amid uncertainty about the company’s future leadership. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Last Toys R Us stores closing Friday

Toys ‘R’ Us is closing its last US stores by Friday, the end of a chain known to generations of children and parents for its sprawling stores, brightly colored logo and Geoffrey the giraffe mascot. But many of the children who happily sang the ‘‘I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid’’ jingle grew into busy parents who found shopping online more convenient. The company, which also owned the Babies ‘R’ Us chain, was hobbled by $5 billion in debt after a leveraged buyout that left it unable to invest and keep up. As the last of the US stores close, more than 30,000 workers will be looking for work. The troubles at Toys ‘R’ Us have also shaken big toy makers like Mattel and Hasbro. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

Amazon to launch van deliveries

Your Amazon packages, which usually show up in a UPS truck, an unmarked vehicle, or in the hands of a mail carrier, may soon be delivered by an Amazon van. With a new program rolling out Thursday, contractors around the country can launch businesses that deliver Amazon packages. The move gives Amazon more ways to ship its packages to shoppers without having to rely on UPS, FedEx, and other delivery services. With these vans on the road, Amazon said, more shoppers will be able to track their packages on a map, contact the driver, or change where a package is left — all of which it can’t do if the package is in the back of a UPS or FedEx truck. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

DEVELOPMENT

Kushner family sues New Jersey City over delayed project

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Jared Kushner’s family company is suing a New Jersey city, alleging it forced the delay of a major twin-tower project due to ‘‘political animus’’ toward President Trump. The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Kushner Cos., claims that Jersey City and its redevelopment agency ‘‘put politics over principle’’ when they broke a contract with developers for the planned One Journal Square project, according to a report in the Jersey Journal. Trump is a Republican. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a defendant in the suit, is a Democrat. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FOOD

US has largest stockpile of cheese in 100 years

The United States has amassed its largest stockpile of cheese in the 100 years since regulators began keeping tabs, the result of booming domestic production of milk and consumers’ waning interest in the dairy beverage. The 1.39 billion-pound stockpile, tallied by the Agriculture Department last week, represents a 6 percent increase over this time last year and a 16 percent increase since an earlier surplus prompted a federal cheese buy-up in 2016. Analysts say warehouse stocks have swelled because processors have too much milk on their hands, and milk is more easily stored as cheese. — WASHINGTON POST