6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Oil prices hit a three-year high. According to Reuters:

U.S. oil prices hit their highest since 2014 on Wednesday due to ongoing production cuts led by OPEC as well as healthy demand, although analysts cautioned that markets may be overheating.

A broad global market rally, including stocks, has also been fuelling investment into crude oil futures.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.44 a barrel, 48 cents, or 0.8 percent, above their last settlement at 0752 GMT. Earlier prices rose to as much as $63.53, the highest since Dec. 9, 2014.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE TM) and Mazda will build a huge car plant in the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal:

 Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. will build a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama, according to people familiar with the companies’ decision, a move that boosts their production capacity in the U.S. and adds to large and growing foreign auto maker presence in the southern state.

Toyota and Mazda first announced plans in August for the new plant, which will create 4,000 jobs and make up to 300,000 vehicles a year by 2021. Toyota has said it would build 150,000 Corolla models and Mazda will use the rest of the capacity for an unspecified model.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) set a record for jet delivery last year. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Boeing Co. said it delivered a record 763 jetliners in 2017 and secured net orders for 912 planes, as surging airline traffic continues to fuel a multiyear boom for the airline and aerospace industries.

The increased orders and deliveries highlight Boeing’s ability to boost production while introducing new aircraft models, trends that have improved the aerospace giant’s cash flow and profits and sent its stock to new highs.

One investment bank believes oil prices could reach $80 a barrel. According to Bloomberg:

This year may be anything but staid for the oil market as Citigroup Inc. predicts wildcards including war, Middle East tensions, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un driving crude toward $80 a barrel.

After prices were boosted by OPEC’s output curbs in 2017, the U.S. President has shifted the focus to geopolitical risks, with his pursuit of sanctions on Iran and North Korea potentially having significant consequences, the bank said. That’s in addition to political disturbances in some OPEC members like Iraq and Libya that could see crude supplies decline, boosting oil to levels between $70-$80, it said in a Jan. 9 report.

The value of one of the major cryptocurrencies reached record levels. According to CNBC:

Ethereum hit another all-time high Wednesday with the cryptocurrency now up more than 60 percent in a week.

The digital currency hit a record high of $1,417.38 before paring some of those gains, according to CoinDesk, a website that tracks the prices of the digital currency. Ethereum is up over 13,000 percent in the last year.

Ethereum is the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization behind bitcoin, with a value of $131.5 billion, CoinDesk data shows.

The fix for a problem with computer chips may hammer processor speed. According to CNNMoney:

The good news: Microsoft is updating your PC to protect against a major microchip security flaw.
The bad news: The fix is going to slow down your computer.

Intel and other chipmakers revealed on January 3 that potentially serious vulnerabilities nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown could allow bad actors to access the stuff on your computer or phone. Microsoft has been working on a fix for months and hit the button on a Windows update after the flaw was made public last week.