Thursday, March 7, 2019

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business news today

Five notes on area businesses for March 6, 2019 - News - Milford Daily News

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 09:27 PM PST

Send news about your local business to We're interested in news about business people, expansions, openings and community involvement by MetroWest businesses and business people. Follow Daily News Business Editor Bob Tremblay on Twitter @Bob Tremblay_MW

Biogen Inc. seals deal to buy Waltham's Nightstar

Nightstar Therapeutics, a Waltham-based clinical-stage gene therapy company developing treatments for rare inherited retinal diseases, and Biogen Inc. announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended acquisition whereby the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Nightstar will be acquired by Tungsten Bidco Limited (a newly incorporated company and wholly owned subsidiary of Biogen Switzerland Holdings). It is intended that the acquisition will be implemented by means of a U.K. court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the U.K. Companies Act 2006. Under the terms of the acquisition, Nightstar Shareholders will be entitled to receive $25.50 in cash for each Nightstar Share. For more information, visit

Holliston's Harvard Bioscience reports record revenue

Harvard Bioscience, a Holliston-based global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of solutions to advance life science, reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2018. "In addition to strong growth in adjusted gross profit, adjusted operating income and adjusted earnings per share, we also reported record quarterly revenue," said Jeffrey Duchemin, president and CEO of Harvard Bioscience. "Our strong fourth quarter results reflect our successful integration of our acquisition of Data Sciences International while continuing to execute on our overall strategy." Revenue, as measured under generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2018 was $33.9 million, an increase of 56 percent, or $12.2 million, compared to revenue of $21.6 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017. For more information, visit

State treasurer announces unclaimed property owners

Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg recently announced the latest grouping of names that have been added to the state's list of unclaimed property owners. More than 45,000 new properties worth millions of dollars are owed to individuals and businesses throughout the commonwealth. Unclaimed property includes forgotten savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends and the contents of unattended safe deposit boxes. Most accounts are considered abandoned and are turned over to the state after three years of inactivity. Last year, treasury processed over 123,000 claims and returned over $125 million in property to its rightful owners. This newly released list includes only individuals and businesses with unclaimed property over $100. Goldberg urged all citizens to check the comprehensive list for all amounts at; 888-344-6277.

Core Connection adds Pilates studio in Westborough

Rita Matraia, owner and founder of The Core Connection, this week announced that her boutique fitness studio is adding a second Reformer Pilates studio in the Westborough Shopping Center, 18 Lyman St. The new studio, which is scheduled to open in mid-March, will feature four reformer/tower machines and Pilates classes for beginner through advanced students. "While The Core Connection offers more than 100 classes a week for everything from spin to yoga to barefoot cardio fusion, Pilates is our main offering," Matraia said. For more information, visit

Hobbs Brook selects JLL as agent for Waltham complex

Hobbs Brook Management LLC, a commercial property management and development firm specializing in leasing, construction and development of Class A office space, has selected JLL as the exclusive broker for 225 Wyman St., a 500,000-plus-square-foot new office and lab development on its Waltham campus. When complete, the new building will be the largest contiguous Class A office building constructed along the Rte. 128 "technology belt" in Massachusetts. Hobbs Brooks Management plans to begin construction in the second quater with the building ready for interior fit-out by the end of 2020. For more information, visit

Stocks under pressure | Trump cuts summit short | GDP data set - CNBC

Posted: 28 Feb 2019 03:55 AM PST

Futures were lower this morning after the U.S.-North Korean summit ended without an agreement. The Nasdaq managed to eke out a small gain yesterday and finished at its highest since November 7. The Dow and S&P 500 were lower for a second straight day. (CNBC)

* South Korean stocks and won sell off (CNBC)
* Cramer explains the six things going right in the economy that are helping him sleep at night (CNBC)

On the data front this morning, the shutdown-delayed first look at fourth quarter GDP will be out at 8:30 a.m. ET. At the same time, the Labor Department will issue its weekly look at initial jobless claims. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is out at 9:45 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

* Fourth quarter growth expected to fall back to slower trend, hit by trade (CNBC)

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan all have public appearances during the trading day. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Fed Chairman Jay Powell attend events that take place after the market close. (CNBC)

J.C. Penney (JCP), (JD), Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), Nielsen Holdings (NLSN), Party City (PRTY) and PG&E (PCG), are among the quarterly earnings this morning, while Autodesk (ADSK), Gap (GPS) and Marriott (MAR) are among the companies out with their numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

* Tech stocks take a beating Wednesday on disappointing earnings reports (CNBC)

President Donald Trump said he cut short his nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because the two sides could not agree on sanctions. A previously planned joint signing ceremony was cancelled. (CNBC)

Trump said accusations by his former lawyer Michael Cohen were "inaccurate," called the congressional hearing "fake" and insisted that there wasn't any collusion between his campaign and Russia during the last election. (CNBC)

* Stormy Daniels tells Cohen: 'I'm proud of you' (CNBC)
* Cohen brings Trump's net worth statements to hearing. How to read them (CNBC)

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been receiving regular briefings from executives at digital and social media companies in order to learn strategies for appealing to young voters if he were to run for president again. (CNBC)

House Democrats introduced a plan to insure all Americans through Medicare, as the push for a sweeping shift to universal health coverage gains more traction ahead of pivotal elections next year. (CNBC)

* Health care spending more than just the parts you see (Axios)

A political firestorm surrounding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has became more damaging.Trudeau's former justice minister accused his top aides of pressuring her to drop the prosecution of a global engineering firm. (WSJ)

Southwest Airlines (LUV) got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly to Hawaii from the West Coast. It had to show regulators its ability to fly its jets over water for extended periods of time away from diversion airports. (CNBC)

CNBC has learned that Amazon (AMZN) has tapped 14-year company veteran Nader Kabbani to run its new pharmacy business, including the team that came in through last year's acquisition of PillPack.

* Amazon reportedly pulls out of Seattle office tower after abandoning NYC HQ2 (CNBC)

The Food and Drug Administration will hold its first public hearings on CBD in April as the agency weighs rules allowing companies to add the popular cannabis-based compound to food, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced. (CNBC)

Celgene (CELG) shares are under pressure after major Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) shareholder Wellington Management said it would not support the acquisition. Wellington said it thinks Bristol-Myers shareholders are accepting too much risk and that Celgene shareholders are getting the drug maker's shares at well below implied asset value. Bristol-Myers said it believed the acquisition was taking place at an attractive price, and that it was an important opportunity to create sustainable value.

HP Inc. (HPQ) earned an adjusted 52 cents per share for its latest quarter, matching Wall Street forecasts. However, the computer and printer maker did see revenue miss estimates amid weakness in printer supply sales. HP said its market share and pricing for those supplies came under pressure during the quarter.

Box (BOX) reported adjusted quarterly profit of six cents per share, beating the consensus estimate of two cents. The cloud storage firm, however, did see revenue fall below forecasts, as was its forward guidance.

Square (SQ) beat estimates by a penny with adjusted quarterly earnings of 14 cents per share, while the digital payment company's revenue also beat forecasts. However, Square's current quarter outlook is below some analyst forecasts.

Booking Holdings (BKNG) earned $22.49 per share for its latest quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of $19.42. The operator of Priceline and other travel websites did see revenue fall below estimates, and its current quarter guidance was below consensus as well.

L Brands (LB) came in seven cents above estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of $2.14 per share, while the fashion retailer's revenue fell below forecasts on declining sales at its Victoria's Secret brand. IT also issued weaker than expected full year guidance.

Tesla (TSLA) was designated as a "Fresh Pick" at Baird, which also reiterated an "outperform" rating. Baird said pessimism on Model 3 demand is overblown, and that weak Q1 delivery expectations are already priced into the stock.

Fitbit (FIT) earned 14 cents per share for the fourth-quarter, double what Wall Street was expecting, and the fitness device maker's revenue also beat estimates. However, revenue and profit guidance for the current quarter is weaker than expected, with Fitbit saying it expected an increase in devices sold but a decline in the average selling price.

Smartphone innovation has plateaued in offering must-have features, so consumers aren't spending lots of money to upgrade anymore. The Galaxy S10+ is no exception. CNBC's Todd Haselton reviews the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

As Trump Moves to End Trade War With China, Business Asks: Was It Worth It? - The New York Times

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 04:13 PM PST

WASHINGTON — The pain of President Trump's trade war with China may soon be over, but American businesses and farmers are left wondering whether it was worth the trouble.

Negotiations with the Chinese are continuing, and Mr. Trump could still secure more concessions to balance out a trading relationship he has long criticized as unfair. But details of the emerging deal paint a familiar picture of Beijing making vague promises to change its economic practices that could be easy to delay and difficult to enforce.

While previous administrations have tried to cajole China into changing its behavior, Mr. Trump has used a blunt instrument: deploying punishing tariffs to win concessions. That has given the United States a remarkable amount of leverage, but it has also taken a heavy toll on farmers, automakers, manufacturers and other businesses with exposure to China. Those businesses have faced higher costs, reduced access to the Chinese market and retaliation, including tariffs on American goods. Some farmers have permanently lost customers and contracts in China, while the profits — and share prices — of multinational businesses have taken a significant hit.

Now, with the United States poised to roll back most of its tariffs as the two countries close in on a final agreement, the question is whether the costs of Mr. Trump's deal-making outweigh the benefits.

"Can we go back to the pretariff days? Yes, we can," said Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "Have we moved the bar since the beginning of the Trump administration? The answer is no."

Over the past several weeks, American and Chinese negotiators have been in almost constant contact over phone and video conferencing to hammer out the terms of a deal. China has agreed to drop the retaliatory tariffs it imposed to counter Mr. Trump's levies on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and to provide greater access to its markets for cars, beef, chemicals and other products.

Beijing has pledged to have Chinese companies purchase hundreds of billions of dollars worth of liquefied natural gas, soybeans and other goods over a number of years to appease Mr. Trump's focus on the bilateral trade deficit. China is also rewriting some of its laws and regulations to better protect foreign intellectual property, ban the forced transfer of foreign technology to Chinese business partners and codify equal treatment of foreign companies.

In return, China wants Mr. Trump to drop all the tariffs he imposed over the past year, which have begun to hamper the Chinese economy. While any final decision will fall to the president, people familiar with the negotiations say the United States is willing to scrap tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of goods, if not all.

The tariff d├ętente would help large and small companies that have struggled under the weight of 10 percent and 25 percent levies, but the trade war has already come at a cost. Several recent studies have shown modest but growing damage to the United States economy from the trade war, including the retaliatory tariffs other countries have leveled against American exports.

And contrary to Mr. Trump's claim that the Chinese are paying the tariffs, several studies show they are being passed on to American consumers in the form of higher prices on imported goods.

Mr. Trump's tariffs "were almost completely passed through into U.S. domestic prices," the economists Mary Amiti of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Stephen J. Redding of Princeton University and David Weinstein of Columbia University wrote in a paper released late last week, "so that the entire incidence of the tariffs fell on domestic consumers and importers up to now, with no impact so far on the prices received by foreign exporters."

The economists concluded that tariffs had already reduced incomes in the United States by nearly $7 billion, and that the total cost to the economy had been even larger, because of price increases. By the end of last year, they estimate, the tariffs were costing consumers and importers a total of nearly $4.5 billion a month.

That effect is relatively small for a $20.5 trillion economy, but the researchers expect it to expand if the tariffs persist, as companies reroute supply chains to avoid tariffs in the United States and abroad.

China's explosive rise was a shock to the global trading system. For decades, Western economies like the United States have struggled with the growth of this economic powerhouse.CreditCreditJohannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimated last week that Mr. Trump's tariffs on imports from China have raised consumer price inflation by 0.1 percent in the United States. Researchers from the New York Fed estimate that the China tariffs — along with tariffs on steel, aluminum, washing machines and solar panels — boosted consumer prices by about a third of a percent last year.

Another study, from the researchers Ned Hill and Fran Stewart at Ohio State University, found that the economic drag from tariffs had at least partially offset stimulus from Mr. Trump's signature tax cuts. Rising trade uncertainty has chilled business investment growth: The researchers surveyed nearly 500 Ohio manufacturers and found that two-thirds of them said they were hurt by tariffs.

A survey from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the University of Chicago and Stanford University in January concluded that tariffs reduced business investment in the United States by 1.2 percent — or $32.5 billion — in 2018.

That price might be worth it, business groups and China analysts say, if the administration makes a deal that substantively transforms Chinese industrial policy and gives American companies fair and reciprocal access to the Chinese market.

"We oppose the use of tariffs, period," said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "But we are at the same time supportive of this administration trying to get a deal that is not just consequential for today but will have lasting impact on the relationship and put the U.S.-China relationship on a better track."

"Absent a deal, I think everyone loses," he added.

But the deal under discussion, which could be wrapped up by late March, appears likely to fall short of the high expectations the Trump administration initially set and the significant changes critics say are needed to counter years of unfair economic behavior by China.

China promised to make its economy more market-oriented when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and it has reiterated those promises many times since then, including in 2013.

Yet today the state has an even heavier hand in the economy than a decade ago, said Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The ruling Communist Party can influence private companies at will, and foreign companies face a variety of forms of discrimination that advantage Chinese firms.

Now, China is offering changes to its laws, including a significant rewrite of a law governing foreign investment. This is a necessary first step, Mr. Lardy said, but rewriting the laws may not do much good when the party is fundamentally above the law.

"Talking about rule of law and protecting property rights is one thing, but actually following through on it is a very difficult thing for a system where the party has been so deeply embedded for a long time and the rule of law is secondary," Mr. Lardy said.

China experts say certain provisions of the deal, including the administration's plan for airing disputes through an extensive series of meetings at various levels of government, sound similar to past economic dialogues during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"We won't know until we see what the deal looks like, but it's feeling eerily familiar," said Scott Kennedy, a China scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Critics of the evolving deal have also said it suffers from a lack of specificity on certain provisions that China uses to systematically block foreign companies. For example, China is pledging not to discriminate against foreign companies when it sets new standards for technological equipment. And it is promising not to selectively use its antitrust laws against foreign companies or subsidize certain high-tech industries. But the deal under discussion does not provide a specific list of subsidies that would be curtailed or ended, so the Chinese may just be able to rebrand them and evade the letter of the agreement.

Getting China to commit to changes on these issues would be a herculean task for any administration, Mr. Kennedy said. But the effort has been made harder by Mr. Trump's rush for a deal and his desire to act unilaterally rather than with other countries.

"It's difficult no matter what," Mr. Kennedy said. "We tried multilateralism and patient integration, and that didn't go smoothly either."

Five things you need to know today in Boston business news, and a birthday present from Dr Seuss - Boston Business Journal

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 03:21 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Five things you need to know today in Boston business news, and a birthday present from Dr Seuss  Boston Business Journal

Good morning, Boston and Happy Tuesday. Here are the five things you need to know to get your busy workday started.

Payless, Gymboree and Victoria's Secret are just some of the brands closing stores in 2019 - USA TODAY

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 05:11 AM PST


The discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource is set to close all of its stores when its files for bankruptcy later this month. Veuer's Mercer Morrison has the story. Buzz60

This year is already on track to be a big one for store closings.

Based on figures from global marketing research firm Coresight Research, bankruptcy filings and company earnings reports, nearly 5,500 stores are already slatedto be shuttered.

Payless ShoeSource accounts for the largest number of closings with 2,590 stores, which are holding liquidation sales. Some stores will close by the end of March, with other locations staying open through the end of May, the company said.

In 2018, Coresight tracked 5,528 closings, which included all Toys R Us locations, plus hundreds of Mattress Firm stores, Kmart and Sears locations, and Brookstone's remaining mall stores.

Coresight said 2017 marked the record year for closings with 8,139 shuttered stores. This included an earlier round of Payless closings, the entire HHGregg electronics and appliance chain, and hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores.


Shoppers have a limited time to use gift cards at Gymboree and Crazy 8 Murfreesboro Daily News Journal

The first quarter of the year is historically the busiest for closings announcements, said Drew Myers, senior consultant with real-estate data firm CoStar Group, which looks at the size of stores when analyzing closings.

Square footage is a "really good gauge on the health of the retail market from a real estate standpoint," Myers said. When square footage is taken into account, 2018 marks the top year for closings, with 155 million square feet of affected retail space.

"When you think about 2018, about 75 percent of that square footage announced for closures comes from Sears, Kmart, Toys R Us and Bon Ton," he said.

Nine weeks into this year, 30 million square feet in closings has already been announced, CoStar's data shows, a far cry from 2018. The difference in this year's closings so far is fewer big box stores and more smaller chains affected, Myers said.

"These are retailers that may certainly lead us to a higher number of closings overall," he said, "but in terms of the square footage of the retail market they may not move the needle that much."

Staying open: Gap acquires Janie and Jack stores and website from Gymboree

J.C. Penney closings: Retailer to close 24 more stores as sales fall


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The closings

Some of the announced closures may carryover into 2020, which was the case with several closings announced in late 2018 such as Lowe's, Sears and Kmart. Gap Inc. announced Feb. 28 it would close roughly 230 stores over two years. 

Payless ShoeSource: 2,589 (includes 248 Canada locations and 114 smaller-format stores in Shopko Hometown locations)

Gymboree/Crazy 8: 749

Things Remembered: 422

Ascena Retail: 400

Shopko: 251

GNC: 233

Gap: Roughly 230 in next two years

Tesla: More than 200 locations worldwide, around 80 in the U.S.

Foot Locker: 165; total includes closings outside of the U.S.

Destination Maternity: 117

Charlotte Russe: 94

Chico's: 83

Sears: 72 

Victoria's Secret: 53

Vera Bradley: 50

Kmart: 48

J.C. Penney: 27

Henri Bendel: All 23 stores

Southeastern Grocers: 22

E.L.F. Beauty: All 22 stores

Saks Off 5th: 20

Lowe's: 20

Macy's: 8

Target: 6

J.Crew: 5

Kohl's: 4

Nordstrom: 3

Whole Foods: 1

Calvin Klein: 1

Pottery Barn: 1

Williams-Sonoma: 1

Source: Coresight Research; staff research

Charlotte Russe: Company may close all stores if it can't find buyer

Store closings: Firm forecasts 'No light at the end of the tunnel'

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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