6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) faces more charges that it has slowed the operation of older iPhones. According to Reuters:

Apple Inc defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change.

Oil prices have risen sharply recently. According to The Wall Street Journal, most recently due to a cut in production:

Oil prices rose to their highest levels in 2½ years Tuesday following a pipeline explosion in Libya, the latest disruption to supplies in an already tightening market.

U.S. crude futures briefly popped above $60 before settling up 2.57% at $59.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their highest settlement since June, 2015.

Brent, the global benchmark, rose $1.77, or 2.71%, to $67.02 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the highest settlement since May, 2015.

Prices rose sharply after an explosion Tuesday on a pipeline leading to Libya’s largest oil port of Es Sider. The incident is expected to reduce oil production there by up to 100,000 barrels a day, the country’s National Oil Co. said on its website.

Uber dumped its auto-leasing operation. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to sell its U.S. subprime auto-leasing business to startup car marketplace Fair.com, people familiar with the matter said, bringing to an end the ride-hailing giant’s failed attempt to attract new drivers who lack regular access to vehicles.

Uber has been seeking a buyer for Xchange Leasing, as the unit is known, since this summer, when it decided to wind down the business after learning it was losing roughly $9,000 a car, 18 times more than previously believed. In September, the company said it would begin to shutter Xchange Leasing, affecting about 500 jobs, while also launching a sale process.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) may get into the pickup business. According to CNBC:

Tesla will make a pickup truck in the future, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Tuesday, adding that he was “dying to build it.”

Musk took to Twitter to ask his 17.1 million followers how the electric car and power company “can improve further.”

While many talked about the various software upgrades, one Twitter user asked for an electric pickup truck. Musk said it is on the way and that he’d been thinking about the design elements for almost five years.

An increase in property taxes for 2018 is causing some people to pay those taxes now. According to CNNMoney:

Some homeowners — particularly those with high property taxes — are spending this last week of 2017 in lines at county offices looking to pre-pay 2018’s tax bill before the end of the year.

That’s because the new tax bill that passed last week puts a cap on the amount you can deduct for state, local and property taxes at $10,000. Currently the deduction is unlimited. In some high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and Maryland, that means some homeowners will be paying a lot more in taxes.

Several analysts said sales of the iPhone X are well below expectations:

But the first wave of demand among Apple fanatics seems to have passed, and analysts are skeptical that more casual iPhone customers will upgrade to the iPhone X.

Citing the iPhone X’s super-high $1,000 price and confusing features, a Sinolink Securities analyst predicted that Apple will ship just 35 million iPhone X devices in the first three months of 2018, roughly 10 million fewer than previously expected. JL Warren Capital now estimates Apple will deliver just 25 million iPhone Xs. Jefferies is slightly more bullish, expecting Apple to ship 40 million.