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Sears Gets Another Reprieve From Liquidation

Sears Gets Another Reprieve From Liquidation

Sears is getting another reprieve from liquidation after its chairman and largest shareholder revised his bid to save the iconic brand and more in Tuesday’s Markets In Brief.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based retailer says it has accepted Eddie Lampert’s bid through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund that could keep 425 stores open and save tens of thousands of workers, according to a hearing on Tuesday at the bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y. The bid now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his hedge fund.

The revised bid is not official, and will be evaluated in an auction set for Jan. 14 that will compete with other bids from liquidators looking to shut it down.

MARKETS IN BRIEF

Amazon Emerges as Most Valuable Us Firm Amid Market Turmoil

Amazon has eclipsed Microsoft as the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S. as a see-sawing stock market continues to reshuffle corporate America’s pecking order.

The shift occurred Monday after Amazon’s shares rose 3 percent to close at $1,629.51 and lifted the e-commerce leader’s market value to $797 billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s stock edged up by less than 1 percent to finish at $102.06, leaving the computer software maker’s value at $784 billion.

It marks the first time Amazon has held the top spot and ends Microsoft’s brief return to the pinnacle after it surpassed Apple in late November .

The repositioning has been triggered by mounting concerns that the Trump administration’s trade war with China and rising interest rates will bog down the worldwide economy. If that were to happen, it’s likely to slow the growth of companies in technology and other industries that generate a substantial chunk of their revenue outside the U.S.

That’s one reason most technology stocks are well off their peaks. Amazon, for instance, remains 21 percent below its high reached in September when the company’s stock value stood above $1 trillion. Apple was worth even more back then, but its stock has plunged by 37 percent since early October to erase about $400 billion of its market value.

Apple confirmed some of investors’ worst fears last week when it warned that disappointing demand for iPhones, especially in China, caused its revenue for its most recent quarter to fall well below the projections of its management and industry analysts.

US Job Openings Fell in November to Still-Strong 6.9 Million

U.S. job openings fell in November from the previous month, but the number of available positions remained healthy.

The Labor Department says job openings slipped 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 million. That is the fewest openings in five months, but still 16 percent higher than a year ago.

The job market remains strong despite sharp stock market declines last month, interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, and a slowing global economy that is also bedeviled by trade fights. Last week’s blockbuster jobs report helped assuage concerns about the economy, as it showed that hiring reached a 10-month high in December.

The number of people quitting fell in November, the report showed, but the total also stayed at a solid level.

S&P Slashes PG&E Rating to Junk Status

S&P slashed PG&E’s credit rating to junk status as the utility grapples with the political and financial fallout from costly and deadly wildfires in California.

The ratings agency cut the company’s key rate five notches to “B” from “BBB-.” Shares have been weighed down since November and took a sharp dive Monday on bankruptcy speculation.

The utility, California’s largest, is contending with potentially crippling liability costs related to California’s Camp Fire. No cause has been determined, but investigators are looking into the potential it was sparked by a malfunctioned line.

S&P says it could lower the rating “one or more notches over the next few months” if the company continues to face regulatory or financial turmoil.

Samsung, Like Apple, Feels Sting of Slowing Global Growth

Samsung expects its quarterly operating profit will be nearly 29 percent lower than last year, potentially unsettling a tech sector already skittish about slowing global economic growth.

The announcement from the South Korean computer chip and smartphone giant comes less than a week after Apple Inc. jolted markets with its weak expectations for revenue to end the year, citing flagging sales in China.

Samsung said late Monday that it anticipates a quarterly operating profit of about 10.8 trillion won ($9.6 billion).

Fourth-quarter sales are expected to be approximately 59 trillion won ($52.4 billion), down 10.6 percent from the prior-year period.

Samsung says there’s weak global demand for chips amid a worldwide economic slowdown, while its smartphones are facing stronger competition.

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