No fire found after alarm at natural gas tank

Another company enters the clean energy race

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Another company enters the clean energy race

The marketing blitz continues as energy companies jockey in advance of the awarding of big clean energy contracts later this month. The latest to join the fray: Avangrid’s Central Maine Power subsidiary, which wants to build a $950 million power line through Maine to draw electricity from Canada. Avangrid just launched a digital ad campaign that claims its project would be at least $2 billion less expensive for Massachusetts electric ratepayers, over 20 years, than two rival lines proposed through Vermont and New Hampshire. — JON CHESTO


Indian airline pilots fired for fighting in cockpit

An Indian airline has fired two pilots reportedly involved in a midair cockpit fight on New Year’s Day, when the pilot allegedly slapped his co-pilot during a London to Mumbai flight. After an investigation, Jet Airways ‘‘has terminated services of both the cockpit crew with immediate effect,’’ the airline said in a statement Tuesday. The company has released no further details. Indian media reports have said that the male pilot and the female co-pilot argued in the cockpit. After being slapped, the co-pilot reportedly emerged crying from the cockpit and for a time refused to return. Airline officials did not immediately reply to requests for comment. The flight, which was carrying 324 passengers and 14 crew members, landed safely. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Ford tells owners of about 2,900 Ranger pickups not to drive them because of faulty air bags

Ford is telling owners of about 2,900 Ranger small pickup trucks not to drive them after finding out that an exploding Takata air bag inflator killed a Ranger driver in West Virginia. The death occurred July 1 in West Virginia, and Ford said it found out about it in December. After some investigation, the company determined that the truck’s inflator was made on the same day as one that exploded and killed a South Carolina man in 2016. So the company issued the urgent new recall for Rangers with inflators made on the same day. Dealers will repair the trucks at owners’ homes or tow them to dealerships for the work, spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said. The company also will offer loaner vehicles if needed. The West Virginia death is the second involving a Ranger and the 21st worldwide caused by Takata inflators. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Pepsi goes back to the future with new ad campaign

PepsiCo, which was slammed last year for an ad that tried to play off current events, is looking for safer ground by reviving its past. The company debuted a campaign called ‘‘Pepsi Generations’’ that will tout the brand’s pop-culture influence over the past 120 years. The marketing blitz includes ads during next month’s Super Bowl and the half-time show, and the beverage giant is bringing back retro packaging and its ‘90s-era Pepsi Stuff loyalty program. PepsiCo is rebounding from the criticism it drew last April for an ad that featured model Kendall Jenner in a street protest. The commercial, which was produced in-house, was rebuked by critics saying it was a tone-deaf exploitation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The company ended up pulling the ad. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Huawei wins patent infringement case against Samsung

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Chinese tech giant Huawei won a patent infringement lawsuit against South Korea smartphone rival Samsung on Thursday, according to information released by a Chinese court. The court ruled in the Chinese company’s favor over two patents involving fourth generation phone technology, according to a notice released through the court’s WeChat account and video of the trial. The judge ordered Samsung Electronics to immediately stop selling or manufacturing products using the technology and to pay a small court fee. The ruling did not cite specific phone models. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Consumer confidence at nearly 17-year high

Americans’ confidence began 2018 by rising to an almost 17-year high on greater optimism about the US economy and buying climate, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday. The improvement in sentiment at the start of the new year shows Americans are optimistic about economic conditions as unemployment remains at the lowest since 2000 and stocks continue to rally. Subtle inflation has also contributed to upbeat attitudes about the retail environment, which could continue to stimulate consumer spending after a robust holiday-shopping season. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates rise slightly

The cost of borrowing money to buy a home rose slightly this week, but remains historically low. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.99 percent, from 3.95 percent last week. This week’s rate matches a 5-month high set two weeks ago. A year ago, the 30-year rate averaged 4.12 percent. The low rates — anything below 4 percent is low by historical standards — are some consolation for home buyers dealing with rising prices amid a shortage of supply. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to an average 3.44 percent from 3.38 percent in the prior week. The 15-year rate averaged 3.37 percent a year ago. The average on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.46 percent from 3.45 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Tight housing inventory means many have to pay more than asking price

A tight supply of US homes for sale, coupled with low mortgage rates, led buyers to bid aggressively last year, with 24 percent paying more than the asking price, according to Zillow. That’s the biggest share since the home-listing site began compiling the data in 2012. The trend was even more dramatic on the West Coast. More than half of buyers paid above asking in San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Seattle, Zillow said. In San Jose, buyers paid a median of $62,000 over the listing price, a 7 percent premium. Aaron Terrazas, a Zillow senior economist, said that he doesn’t expect the inventory shortage to ease much this year, meaning that buyers will probably continue to bid up prices. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Ikea offers free pregnancy tests to lure buyers

Ikea is offering free pregnancy tests in a bid to lure clients, with women who test positive offered a discount on a new crib. The test is embedded in an ad published in Swedish women’s magazine Amelia. Developed in association with Swedish ad agency Akestam Holst and Mercene Labs, the ad uses the same kind of technology used in standard pregnancy-test kits available in pharmacies. The initiative might not have raised eyebrows if it weren’t for the instructions provided: “Peeing on this ad may change your life.” Women whose urine sample tests positive are encouraged to apply for an Ikea Family membership card, which offers special deals on select items. It is not the first time that Ikea marketing campaigns have courted controversy. The world’s biggest furniture retailer in 2016 ran a series of ads called “Where life happens,” in which it touched on topics such as divorce and single-parent households. In 2012, it was forced to apologize for removing some women from its catalog in Saudi Arabia and a year later received criticism from the Thai Transgender Alliance for a commercial they claimed was disrespectful toward transgender people. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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