6 Most Important Things in Business Today

Douglas A. McIntyre

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) offered an explanation and a cheap fix for slowdowns in older iPhones. According to Reuters:

In a posting on its website Thursday, Apple apologized over its handling of the battery issue and said it would make a number of changes for customers “to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions.”

Apple made the move to address concerns about the quality and durability of its products at a time when it is charging $999 for its newest flagship model, the iPhone X.

The company said it would cut the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 to $29 for an iPhone 6 or later, starting next month. The company also will update its iOS operating system to let users see whether their battery is in poor health and is affecting the phone’s performance.

Japan’s Softbank made a large investment in Uber. According to The Wall Street Journal:

SoftBank Group Corp. won its bid to buy a major stake in Uber Technologies Inc. at a steep discount to the company’s previous valuation in a deal that gives the world’s biggest tech investor sway over the most valuable U.S. startup.

Uber investors and employees tendered shares equal to about 20% of the company in an offer by a SoftBank-led consortium that values Uber at $48 billion—a roughly 30% discount to its most recent valuation of about $68 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

China’s economy and financial system could be a big problem in 2018. According to CNBC:

Part of the S&P 500’s rally to record highs this year comes on the back of better economic growth around the world. A major contributor to that growth was stability in China as leaders prepared for a key 19th Communist Party Congress this fall. Now that the congress is over and Beijing looks set to take action on its growing debt problems, worries about a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy could hurt U.S. stocks.

The current lotteries are among the largest in history:

The Mega Millions jackpot reached $306 million when no one won the top prize in Tuesday’s drawing. Its next drawing is Friday night. And Powerball’s jackpot stands at $384 million after no one won Wednesday’s drawing. Its next drawing comes Saturday night.

A Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) original movie drew a huge audience. According to Fortune:

 Netflix‘s ambitious attempt at a big-budget film, “Bright” starring Will Smith, drew an enough viewers in its first three days to rival the opening-weekend audiences of several top Hollywood movies this year, according to Nielsen data.

“Bright” got 11 million viewers Dec. 22 through 24 in the U.S., Nielsen said Thursday. If those viewers had each paid the national average movie-ticket price of about $9, that would’ve been a $99 million debut at the box office—roughly what Universal Pictures’ “The Fate of the Furious” did in April.

Some caveats to those numbers: Netflix subscribers use the service to get a variety of programming, and might not have paid to go see “Bright” if it was only available at the theater. And Netflix disputes Nielsen’s methodology to begin with, in part because it only measures views on televisions, leaving out computers and phones. Netflix doesn’t release its own audience data.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was fined for fake stock ratings. According to the New York Post:

The banking giant’s brokerage group displayed “inaccurate research ratings” — namely, slapping “buy” ratings on stocks that were actually rated “sell,” and vice versa — to its brokers, retail customers and supervisors, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Thursday.

Because of a faulty electronic data feed, some customers inadvertently owned “sell” rated stocks even when their portfolios prohibited it, Finra said. And some covered stocks received no rating, while stocks not covered by the bank were rated, Finra said.

More than 1,800 securities — or 38 percent of the stocks covered by the bank — were affected over a five-year period ending December 2015.

The bank was fined $11.5 million.