6 Most Important Things in Business Today

Oversupply continues to keep oil prices low. According to Reuters:

Oil prices rebounded on Friday, clawing back some of the ground lost this week, but remained close to their lowest levels in more than a year as rising U.S. inventories and concern over global economic growth kept markets under pressure.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has lost $9 billion buying back its own shares. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. has lost more than $9 billion this year on an underperforming investment—its own stock.

Like many large companies, Apple has used much of its windfall from the 2017 tax overhaul to buy back shares. But the recent plunge in stock prices has made that look like a bad idea. Apple and companies including Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Applied Materials Inc. repurchased their own shares at rich prices, only to see their value decline sharply.

The former CEO of American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) is leaving two major corporate boards. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Kenneth Chenault, the former chairman and chief executive of American Express Co., is stepping down next year from his board roles at International Business Machines Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co.

Mr. Chenault, 67 years old, plans to retire from the boards of IBM and P&G on Feb. 13, the companies said Thursday in securities filings.

The Chinese stock market lost over $2 trillion of its value this year. According to Bloomberg:

For China’s stock investors and forecasters, 2018 has been a gloomy year marked by unwelcoming milestones.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is 25 percent below where it started this year, making it the worst-performing major stock market in the world. The breakout of a trade war between the U.S. and China has wiped out $2.4 trillion this year, while a deleveraging drive has squeezed margin debt to just one-third of its peak in 2015.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) released its first interactive movie. According to CNBC:

Streaming giant Netflix released a new interactive show Friday that allows users to choose how the story develops and ends.

At 3:01 a.m. ET on Friday, the California company unveiled an extended 90-minute episode of the British TV series “Black Mirror” to showcase the new technology.

When the episode is accessed by computer for the first time, a short tutorial instructs viewers to “keep your mouse or trackpad close at hand,” as different storyline options are presented throughout the viewing.

Sears may be gone in less than a day. According to CNBC:

Sears, the 125-year-old icon, has 24 hours to survive.

The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid, nor rounded up financing, the people familiar said. Should Lampert submit a bid, Sears’ advisors would have until Jan. 4 to decide whether he is a “qualified bidder.” Only then, could ESL take part in an auction against liquidation bids on Jan. 14.

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