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Retailers look at daylight saving time, the Fed increases interest rate, and more





It’s not easy to have the eyes of the world on you. Just ask Rachel (Don’t Call Me Geraldo) Maddow. Today, it was Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen drawing all the interest. Now we ask you to turn your attention to the latest from Jon Chesto and a roundup of the day’s top business news for Wednesday, March 15.

Chesto Means Business

Timing is everything: One theory behind extending daylight saving time year-round is that merchants would rack up more sales because consumers would be out and about later, with all that extra sun at the end of winter days.

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But even shopkeepers can’t reach a consensus on this. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts just submitted survey results to a state commission that’s weighing whether to recommend moving to Atlantic Standard Time, aka our daylight saving time, on a year-round basis.

The sample size is relatively small, about 5 percent of RAM’s 4,000 members. But the results are worth noting. Roughly one third — 34 percent — of respondents support extending daylight saving time year round, instead of springing forward and falling back. This group sees an increase in business, energy savings, and an end to the annoying twice-a-year clock switch.

Another 24 percent support a year-round Eastern Standard Time. But the biggest reason seemed to be the disruptive effects from the current March and November time shifts, rather than any great benefit from having the sun rise and set earlier in the summer.

More than 40 percent prefer the status quo, or at least prefer waiting for a national solution. They’re particularly worried about getting out of step with neighboring states.

The potential for interstate confusion in New England is a legitimate concern, one that could outweigh any benefits. The biggest takeaway: If Massachusetts decides to pursue a time-zone shift, we shouldn’t go it alone.

Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at jon.chesto@globe.com and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

Executive Summary

Get Todays Headlines in your inbox:

Rating an increase: If you carry a balance on your credit cards, you’ll be paying more for it. If you save money, you can expect more of a return on your certificates of deposit and money market funds.

Those are the key takeaways from Wednesday’s vote by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates by a quarter-percentage-point to a still low range of 0.75 to 1 percent. The Fed also signaled that it remains on track to raise rates twice more this year.

Even though the move was widely anticipated, stocks rallied on the news, building on gains posted earlier in the day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell, suggesting that investors were relieved that the central bank didn’t indicate that more than two rates increases were likely this year.

Things that go tweet in the night: This time it wasn’t the president who was surprising Americans waking up to their Twitter feeds.

Instead, there was a strange tweet, written in Turkish, that appeared to be coming from trusted businesses. The tweet opened with a swastika and contained hashtags that included “Nazi Germany” and “Nazi Holland.” Some of the tweets also included a link to a You Tube video.

The tweet made the rounds coming from the accounts of businesses and organizations, including locals like Polar Seltzer, Worcester State University, Boston Landmarks Commission, and AceTickets.  In some cases, the hacker also changed the background on Twitter home pages. Companies and organizations quickly apologized for the tweets and Twitter removed the third party hacker’s permissions.

There’s a lot to learn in tax returns: There is pretty much universal agreement at Rachel Maddow’s “scoop” was on par with Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s vault. In other words, it was a big letdown.

But there’s still, potentially, plenty to see in President Donald Trump’s tax returns. They could potentially expose some well-guarded secrets like what loopholes he exploits to reduce his taxes, whether he’s as charitable as he claims, how much money he owes, and to whom he owes it.

While every president since Jimmy Carter has shared his tax returns, Trump thus far has refused.

Detecting some funds: A Boston-based company that makes a chip used by biotech to quickly analyze molecules in a laboratory has raised $20 million in an equity growth fund.

From the Boston Business Journal: 908 Devices is now up to $49 million raised in its ongoing efforts. The company is best known for developing a handheld mass spectrometry device used by first responders to detect chemical and biological hazards.

908 Devices also developed a “Zip Chip” that can quickly separate large and small molecules in samples of blood, plasma, and other biological liquids so they can be analyzed.

Trending Pick

The spies who hacked me: It was a hack that almost sunk a business deal between Yahoo and Verizon. Federal authorities have charged two Russian spies with stealing 500 million Yahoo accounts in a massive data breach.

Line Items

Looking for the right fit:

It can take up to 86 candidates to find right employee — Washington Post

Yoga pants to blame for pollution?

Researchers say plastic in comfy clothes to blame for contamination — Associated Press

Bonuses flow on Wall Street:

Average payout was $138,210, up 1 percent — Business Insider

PETA is down on Canada Goose:

Outerwear IPO launches Thursday, activists want a stake — Quartz

ICYMI

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This can be a real turnoff: Consumer advocates are criticizing a practice being used by lenders who work with high-risk borrowers.

As reported in this morning’s Globe, lenders are increasingly using electronic devices installed in cars to remotely shut them down if loan payments are overdue.

Concerns are being raised about safety, privacy, and the fairness of the practice.

Massachusetts may consider legislation to regulate the use of the starter interruption devices. As of right now, there are no regulations in place and consumer advocates want there to be more disclosure that such a device is being installed in a vehicle and how it will be deployed.
 

This Talking Points newsletter is compiled by George Brennan. Follow George on Twitter at @gpb227If you liked what you’ve read, please tell your friends to  sign up.


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