That is it for today. Back tomorrow at six. Have a good evening.
Business reporter, BBC News
Business reporter, BBC News
That is it for today. Back tomorrow at six. Have a good evening.
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".
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%
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know nothing about Tinder so I read this amusing article on the Telegraph's website. Now I know a bit more.
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".
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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."
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."
The FTSE is down 16 points, or 0.2%, at 6,930 in lunchtime trading.
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.
Chief business correspondent
tweets: My interview w Yang Lan, China's Oprah, at GREAT festival Shanghai. Prince William here too. Listen tomorrow #r4today
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).
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.
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...
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 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.
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
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.
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.
BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweets:
I think it's fair to say that Sony Eye Glass is a work in progress
BBC World News
Following the government decision to block the sale of 12 oil and gas fields in the North Sea to Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, Daragh McDowell, an analyst at risk analytics firm Verisk Maplecroft tells BBC World Business Report: "To allow Russian investment in North Sea offshore oil would definitely run counter to the spirit, if not the letter, of existing sanctions."
Duncan Weldon, Newsnight economics correspondent, asks whether globalisation is slowing down.
Marks & Spencer, Cadbury and Heinz have all taken a dip in consumers' affections, according to the annual Consumer Superbrands survey. British Airways topped the survey, while messing with the Creme Egg hurt Cadbury. What say you, readers? Which brands do you love - or love to hate? firstname.lastname@example.org
Pensions minister Steve Webb is worried that the "dark corners" of the investment and pensions industry are hiding some "nasty surprises". As a result, the Financial Conduct Authority and Department for Work and Pensions have called on the industry to help draft new rules on how the cost of workplace pension schemes should be reported to savers. "We have a duty to throw light for the first time on potential hidden charges - and restore faith and fairness in British pensions," Mr Webb says.
Leo Kelion, technology desk editor of BBC news website, tweets: #Sony and #Microsoft have new phones at #MWC - but they're not flagships - here's why
The FT reports that Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman will fight to buy those North Sea gas assets. The Wall Street Journal analyses the complex relationship between mobile operators and social networks and whether they should defriend each other. The Times takes a look at more companies coming forward to tackle RBS's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) and its alleged habit of putting them to the wall. RBS says a legal inquiry found no evidence it "set out to artificially distress otherwise viable businesses", The Times reports.
Technology fans will be watching the Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in Barcelona today, for the latest gadgets. Manufacturers seem determined to get us to buy a smartwatch. Apple and its rivals such as Samsung are trying to make the things prettier and more useful, AFP reports, having interviewed various analysts. Will you be tempted?
Trinity Mirror will start paying a dividend for the first time since 2008 - of 3p a share - as pre-tax profits rose 1% to £102.3m for 2014, the Daily Mirror publisher said. However, print advertising revenue fell 14.1% in the second half of the year as supermarkets cut their spending.
A "mixed performance" from Thorntons, chief executive Jonathan Hart tells investors. International sales rose by 19.9% to £5.4m in the first half of the company's financial year, but UK commercial sales melted away by 12.4% to £54.7m. Sounds more like a pick 'n' mixed bag to us...
House prices fell by 0.1% in February, according to Nationwide - the first decline in five months, since September. That brought the annual rate of price rises to 5.7% compared with 6.8% in January - a sharper than expected slowdown.
Assistant political editor, BBC News
The Liberal Democrats announce the first of many proposed tax rises today as part of their vow to pay off the deficit by 2018 by increasing the tax take rather than cutting spending further. Norman Smith tells Radio 4's Today programme that banks would have all the cuts in corporation tax since 2010 wiped out in a move that would generate about £1bn for the public purse. However, the Lib Dems still need to raise a further £7bn or so to make their sums add up, he adds.
A quick reminder of what Mr Buffett's company owns. Among other businesses, Berkshire Hathaway owns about half of Heinz, engine oil firm Lubrizol, clothing maker Fruit of the Loom, the pleasingly named Acme Brick company and private plane operator NetJets. He also owns stakes in Mars, Coca Cola and American Express.
BBC Radio 4
David Cumming, head of equities at Standard Life, tells presenter Simon Jack on Today there is a "lot of noise" around banking stocks given the regulatory pressure the sector is now under, meaning they have a "higher than average risk profile". He also thinks the FTSE 100 will crack the 7,000 mark in the next few weeks as the economy continues to improve.
Radio 5 live
The East Coast rail route between London and Scotland has returned to private hands after more than five years in the public sector. David Horne of Virgin Trains East Coast is on 5 live. He says Virgin has done a good job with the West Coast line. National Express took over the line during a recession, so starting a franchise now should work better for Virgin, Horne adds.
Radio 5 live
Sue Noffke, fund manager at asset manager Schroders, is 5 live's markets guest. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett sent his annual letter to shareholders on Saturday, summing up his 50 years building one of the planet's biggest companies. Because he behaves more like an owner than an investor, "he has had a longer-term investment horizon" than other investors, says Ms Noffke.
Radio 5 live
Good morning! Get in touch via email email@example.com or on Twitter @BBCBusiness
Good morning everyone. Welcome to Monday. The UK government has said it will block the sale of 12 North Sea oil and gas fields to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman after concerns about the effect of "possible future sanctions". Stay tuned for more of the best business news.