Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are gaining this morning, and European shares have declined from their highest level in more than seven years. Asian markets closed the day mostly higher.
Over the weekend, Warren Buffett published the 50th annual letter to Berkshire shareholders. In it, he told the group he had found his successor. Speculation has mounted among Berkshire investors over who will eventually succeed the 84-year-old. Here are some of the best one-liners from Buffett’s letter.
On CNBC this morning Buffett reiterated his view that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. He first made the prediction at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit last fall. Watch his appearance (and prediction) again here:
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Business leaders gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Conference.
The world’s biggest annual cellphone conference kicks off today. Already, Qualcomm (QCOM) and Intel (INTC) have introduced new biometic security technology that would use readings from the human body — such as a fingerprint or a facial reading — to allow access to devices instead of traditional passwords.
The more than 85,000 attendees are getting ready to hear keynotes from two Americans who hold impressive sway over the future of the mobile industry: Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. Zuckerberg will discuss expanding Internet access in developing countries, while many will be hoping Wheeler will discuss the FCC’s recent adoption of net neutrality rules.
2. Dutch Chipmaker NXP Semiconductors pays $11.8 billion for U.S. rival.
NXP (NXPI) paid nearly $12 billion in cash and stock to acquire Austin, Tex.-based Freescale Semiconductor (FSL), which will help expand its reach in chips made for cars. The deal values Freescale at $36.14 a share, almost equal to the company’s closing price of $36.11 on Feb. 27, reported Bloomberg. The merged company will have about $10 billion in annual sales, making it the world’s eighth-largest chipmaker. As cars continue to get more advanced and require more processors and electronics, NXP and Freescale are set to benefit. The additional scale will help expand market share and reduce costs, the companies said.
3. Russia and Ukraine meet to discuss energy.
European Union leaders are hosting both Russian and Ukrainian leaders in Brussels today to broker energy talks between the two nations. Gas supplies have been used as a weapon in the conflict, as Russian threatens to cut off gas to Ukraine as a shaky ceasefire remains in place in east Ukraine. If Russia cuts off the gas deliveries, it could affect other European nations as well, since Ukraine is a key transit route into the EU.
Separately, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.
4. China cuts interest rates again.
The Chinese central bank cut interest rates again in a surprise move as the nation pursues ever more aggressive measures to rev up economic activity. The People’s Bank of China cut rates by a quarter of a percentage point nearly four months after the last reduction. The world’s second-largest economy has been struggling with a slumping property market, capital drains that are affecting banks’ lending capacity and fears of impending deflation. The unexpected rate cut bolstered Asian markets today, though many worry about China’s “new normal” of slower growth. Chinese leadership will address the issue with new policy goals for the year when the new legislative session starts Thursday.
5. Buffett gives clues to future successor in annual shareholder letter.
Billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett released his annual letter to shareholders on Saturday. The note, full of Buffett’s famous folk wisdom, also gave hints as to who may be next in line to take over the top leadership role if Buffett were to pass away or step down. Buffett, who celebrates his 50th year at the helm of his company, said that that Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK) board has identified his successor but didn’t reveal his or her identity. Vice Chairman Carlie Munger, in a separate note, hinted that either Ajit Jain, an insurance executive at the company, or Greg Abel, head of Berkshire’s energy unit, would take over as CEO.