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  1. Gates tops Forbes rich list again
  2. UK house prices have almost stopped rising
  3. The "dating" app Tinder is launching a paid-for version

Live Reporting

By Ian Pollock

All times stated are UK

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Ian Pollock

Business reporter, BBC News

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That is it for today. Back tomorrow at six. Have a good evening.

Warren Buffett

A last word from Mr Buffett, on the failings of the investment management "industry": "Huge institutional investors, viewed as a group, have long underperformed the unsophisticated index-fund investor who simply sits tight for decades," he says. How come? "A major reason has been fees: Many institutions pay substantial sums to consultants who, in turn, recommend high-fee managers. And that is a fool's game."

BBC Radio 4

The economist Doug McWilliams has been talking to

PM on Radio 4. Yesterday the Sunday Mirror said he had been captured on video smoking crack cocaine in a drugs den. Today he stepped down for a few months as boss of the consultancy he runs, the Centre for Economics and Business Research. At first he declined to answer any questions about the allegations, but then went on to say he hoped to lead a better life in the future, and that the accusations were about "occasional binges".

European "solidarity"

Greek flag

What was that I said about the confusing rhetoric concerning the woes of Greece? Reuters quotes a "senior eurozone" official as saying "a third bailout is news to me." More as we get it, as we say in the news trade.


So how does unemployment in the UK compare to that in the eurozone? In the UK the rate has fallen from 7.1% to 5.6% in the past year. Only Germany (4.7%) and Austria (4.8%) have lower rates. The UK's rate is in fact half that of the eurozone average of 11.2%

Warren Buffett

And what is Mr Buffett's advice to simple personal investors, not people with billions of pounds in cash to spend buying huge international companies? "Investors could have assured themselves of a good income for life by simply buying a very low-cost index fund whose dividends would trend upward over the years and whose principal would grow as well (with many ups and downs, to be sure)," he says.

Via Twitter


Our man in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress (MWC),

Rory Cellan-Jones, is waiting for something to happen. Or for someone called Zuckerberg to say something. Tough job and all that.


On the foreign exchange markets, the pound was almost unchanged at $1.54.4. Against the euro the pound was little changed at 1 euro 37.9.

London stock market

Graph of FTSE 100 share index

The 100 share index fell slightly today, down nine points at 6,938. The biggest gain was experienced by shares in the bank RBS, which rose 11 pence, or 3%, to 378 pence.

European "solidarity"

Alex Tsipras

In the ever confusing ebb and flow of rhetoric about the future of Greece, let me remind you that

last week the country's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, rejected the idea that his country needed or would accept a third bailout of any sort. "Some people are betting on a third bailout in July... but we will disappoint them," he told his cabinet colleagues last week.

Tinder charges

I know nothing about Tinder so I read this amusing article on the

Telegraph's website. Now I know a bit more.

European "solidarity"

Now this is interesting. The Reuters news agency has reported the comments earlier today of the Spanish economy minister, Luis de Guindos. Apparently he said that the eurozone countries were talking about a third bailout for Greece. This would be worth, supposedly, between 30bn euros and 50bn euros. He said this would give Greece "more flexible conditions" and he added that the country had no alternative to this European "solidarity".

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

He admits that luck has had something to do with his success as an investor - the luck of being born in the US: "Charlie [Munger, vice-chairman] and I have always considered a "bet" on ever-rising U.S. prosperity to be very close to a sure thing. Indeed, who has ever benefited during the past 238 years by betting against America?"

Eurozone economy

And just to remind you, what about unemployment? Eurostat says it fell again in January. The unemployment rate in the eurozone was 11.2%. Still very high but down from 11.3% in December and the third monthly fall in a row.

Eurozone economy

Is the eurozone economy about to pick up, rather than go into eternal stagnation as many pundits have suggested? According to Eurostat, the statistics office of the EU, the 19 countries using the euro saw their prices fall by 0.3% in the year to February. So not as alarming as the 0.6% deflation recorded the previous month.

Nationwide house prices

For Sale signs

If you want to know what is going on with house prices right now,

always check the three-month-on-three-month rate. As the name suggests, it compares the most recent three months to the previous three. The Nationwide says this rate stands at just 0.8%. In other words, house prices are hardly rising at all.

Forbes rich list

Queen Elizabeth II
Getty Images

Some people just don't make the rich list, no matter how much money they may have. Why? "We do not include royal family members or dictators who derive their fortunes entirely as a result of their position of power, nor do we include royalty who, often with large families, control the riches in trust for their nation," Forbes says.

Tinder charges


Tinder is one of those apps that pretends to help you make new friends, when we all know what it's really about... Today the app has launched a paid-for version that allows users to swipe left as well as right (ask a Tinder user to explain). Cheekily, Tinder is charging a hefty £14.99 a month if you're over 28 - and a mere £3.99 if you're younger. We suspect a lot of users might suddenly be aged 27.

Warren Buffett

Mr Buffett (third on the

Forbes rich list, by the way) has a few digs at investment bankers and other "advisers". Explaining why his conglomerate is good at picking and choosing new companies to buy, he says: "Institutional investors face major costs as they move capital because they usually need intermediaries to do this job. A lot of mouths with expensive tastes then clamour to be fed - among them investment bankers, accountants, consultants, lawyers and such capital-reallocators as leveraged buyout operators. Money-shufflers don't come cheap."

Forbes rich list

Forbes makes the interesting point about the mega-rich in its list that: "Fully 1,191 members of the list are self-made billionaires, while just 230 inherited their wealth. Another 405 inherited at least a portion but are still working to increase their fortunes."

Wi-fi news

Hewlett-Packard (HP) stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

The computer firm Hewlett-Packard says it will buy the wi-fi equipment manufacturer

Aruba Networks for $2.7bn - in cash. Aruba makes equipment for wi-fi networks such as routers and switches, and the software for them.

Warren Buffett

If you are interested in the thoughts of Warren Buffett, often described as the world's most successful investor, you can read his

annual letter to shareholders in his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. I will pick out some of the most interesting points for you.



Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer, has unveiled a range of furniture fitted with wireless charging spots for mobile devices. The BBC's

Zoe Kleinman reports that the Home Smart range will initially include lamps, bedside tables and a coffee table as well as individual charging pads for any surface. Ikea has used the wireless charging standard QI, which is also supported by
Samsung in its latest handset, the S6.

Forbes rich list

Bill Gates

The US business magazine Forbes has published its

annual rich list. This year it has counted 1,826 billionaires. Their collective wealth has, apparently, shot up from $6.4 trillion to $7.05 trillion. Bill Gates who co-founded Microsoft tops the list once more.

Good afternoon

Ian Pollock

Business reporter, BBC News

Thanks to Howard and Chris for this morning's work, getting up very early so you don't have to. I'm here till six.

Warren Buffett

Warren buffett

Please sir, can I have some more growth? No you many not, says Warren Buffett. He told business channel CNBC today that investors should not be disappointed with 2% economic growth a year, adding that the US has a "terrific economy".

Market update


The US technology-focused Nasdaq index closed last week at 4,963.53, closing in on 5,000. "Certainly, the Nasdaq at 5,000 conjures up images of a tech bubble," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "But we've had time for business profits to grow into those crazy expectations 15 years ago."

Germany vs Greece, part 675...

Alexis Tsipras
Getty Images

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's spokesman has put the knife into Greek PM Alexis Tsipras for accusing eurozone partners including Spain and Portugal of undermining his negotiations with Brussels. "I can only say that according to European standards that was a very unusual foul," spokesman Martin Jaeger said on Monday. "We don't do that in the Eurogroup. It is not the done thing."

Markets update

Tullow rig
Getty Images


FTSE is down 16 points, or 0.2%, at 6,930 in lunchtime trading.

  • Not a great Monday for
    Tullow Oil, whose shares are down 7% after updating the market on a dispute over the maritime border between Ghana and Ivory Coast that has affected exploration in the area.
  • Top riser of the day is
    Intertek, up 3.6% to £26.21 per share.

Mikhail Fridman

Mikhail Fridman's investment company, LetterOne, has written a stern letter to energy secretary Ed Davey following his department's decision to block the sale of 12 North Sea oil fields to the Russian oligarch. Jonathan Muir, chief executive of LetterOne, says the company will seek a judicial review of the decision. "We very much hope that DECC will reconsider its position," he adds in the letter

obtained by the FT.

Via Twitter

China's Oprah

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent


tweets: My interview w Yang Lan, China's Oprah, at GREAT festival Shanghai. Prince William here too. Listen tomorrow #r4today

Semiconductor merger


You might not have heard of NXP Semiconductors before, and frankly neither had we, but the Dutch chip maker has announced a deal to buy its smaller rival Freescale Semiconductor for $11.8bn (£7.6bn). The combined NXP/Freescale will be the biggest automotive and industrial semiconductor manufacturer and be worth more than $40bn (£26bn).

China purchasing

Manufacturing activity in China improved in February for the first time in four months, but export demand weakened. HSBC's manufacturing index, based on a survey of factory purchasing managers, rose to 50.7 from January's 49.7. It uses a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.


Today's Dilbert is also an exposition of Goodhart's law (that when a measure becomes a target, it is no longer a worthwhile measure). So while you read it, you'll be technically working, which is a good excuse if you get caught reading comics at work.

Xiaomi camera


Tweet picture of the day courtesy of

TechCrunch, which reports that Xiaomi has introduced a bargain GoPro-style action camera that can be strapped to almost anything - even a cat...

Eurozone inflation

Eurostat also said that consumer prices in the eurozone fell by 0.3% in February, compared with the same month last year, following a 0.6% fall in January. Economists had expected a 0.4% slide. Excluding the cost of energy and unprocessed food, prices rose by 0.6% year-on-year.

Eurozone unemployment

Eurozone unemployment continued to fall in January, hitting its lowest level since April 2012 as the economy gained momentum. The jobless rate fell to 11.2% from 11.3% in December, with the number of people out of work down by 140,000 to just over 18m.

Via Twitter

Mobile World Congress

Nic Fildes, technology and communications editor of The Times, tweets from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:

Of all the clunky telecoms buzzwords, "softwarization" is the worst. It sounds like a defunct rave act


Mortgage lending

house building
Getty Images

The number of loan approvals for house purchases fell to 60,786 in January, compared to an average of 61,666 over the previous six months, the

Bank of England said today. The number of approvals for remortgaging was also down, to 31,640, compared with an average of 32,044 over the previous six months.

New coin


Here's that

new portrait of the Queen for sterling coins. It's only the fifth coin portrait of the Queen in her 63 years on the throne and the first since 1998. New coins bearing the image will now be struck, according to the Royal Mint.