The 10 biggest business stories on Wednesday January 20

E.on cuts gas prices by 5.1%; Shell cuts 10,000 jobs; Netflix global surge grabs more customers than expected

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The Independent Online

1.    Oil prices sank to a 12-year low, falling under $28 a barrel in early Asia trade Wednesday as a glut continues to weigh on markets.

2.    E.on will reduce its standard residential gas price in Britain by an average 5.1 per cent from February 1st, it said on Wednesday. It is the first of the big six energy firms to announce a price cut this year.

3.    UK unemployment figures are to be released today. The unemployment rate is expected to stary unchanged at 5.2 per cent.

4.    The global financial system has become dangerously unstable, according to William White, a leading monetary theorist and Swiss-based chairman of the OECD. He told the Telegraph that an avalanche of bankruptcies will test social and political stability.

5.    IBM forecast weak earnings for this year after reporting an 8.5 per cent fall in fourth quarter. The company has reported declining year-over-year revenue for the last 15 quarters in a row. IBM sales fell 3 per cent in extended trading on Tuesday. 

6.    WH Smith, the newspaper and stationery retailer, has reported a 2 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to January 16. Smiths' travel concessions - stores in airports and railways stations - did better than its high street stores with same-store sales up 5 per cent in the period compared with the same period a year earlier. 

7.    Pet at Home, Britain’s biggest pet shop, said trading for the fiscal year remained in line with forecasts as it posted a 7.1 per cent rise in third-quarter revenue.

8.    Shell has announced it will cut 10,000 jobs. The oil giant said on Wednesday that general cost cutting and its takeover of rival BG Group will mean that a total of 10,000 jobs will go across the two companies.

9.    Netflix global growth has surged. The video streaming service has reported a surge in subscribers in the December quarter with  5.6 million new subscribers, 4 million of which are outside the US.

10.    Apple is seeking permission to open retail stores in India. The Indian government confirmed that an application has been received, Business Insider reports.