Samsung debuts its new smartphone, Will Smith opens at No. 1, and Warren Buffett envisions his successor. Read about these and more of the day's top business news stories.
Berkshire Annual Report Drops Buffett Successor Hints
Billionaire Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO for half a century, isn’t going anywhere. But he used his annual shareholder report in part to drop hints about the particular set of skills his eventual successor will need. He hopes that person will be young enough to lead the company for at least a decade and added, "My successor will need one other particular strength: the ability to fight off the ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency. When these corporate cancers metastasize, even the strongest of companies can falter."
Personal Income Up, Spending Down
For the second consecutive month, U.S. consumer spending fell in January. The Commerce Department reports Monday that consumer spending decreased $18.9 billion, or 0.2 percent, after falling 0.3 percent in December. Personal income increased $50.8 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the month, less than the 0.4 percent increase forecast. Wages and salaries increased $42.4 billion in January, compared with an increase of $8.6 billion in December.
Samsung Unveils Stylish New Phone
South Korean phone manufacturer Samsung announced two new Galaxy S6 smartphones Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The phones, which will go on sale April 10, are stylistic departures from previous models, ditching the plastic bodies for a metal design. The screens will remain at 5.1 inches, but display resolution will be boosted from 432 pixels per inch to 577. The Galaxy S6 Edge model will feature a curved screen. Both models will include technology for making mobile payments. Samsung will debut Samsung Pay, its answer to iPhone’s Apple Pay this summer.
Will Smith Takes the “Focus” Away from “Fifty Shades”
“Focus,” the romantic con artist caper starring Will Smith opened at No. 1, knocking “Fifty Shades of Grey” to fourth place at the box office. “Focus” earned $19.1 million, which was less than forecast. It is Smith’s first film since the sci-fi flop, “After Earth.” "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and "SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water” place second and third in the top five with "The Lazarus Effect" finished fifth in its opening weekend. Last weekend’s Academy Award-winners “Still Alice” and "Birdman” enjoyed Oscar bumps of 24 percent and $125 percent, respectively.
Power Steering Defect Drives Hyundai Recall
Hyundai is recalling about 205,000 Elantra midsize sedans in the U.S. and another 58,000 in Canada because the vehicles' power steering can stop working, the Associated Press reports. Among the models and years affected include 2008 to 2010 Elantra sedans and the 2009 to 2010 Elantra Touring versions. In those vehicles, an electronic power steering sensor could malfunction and disable the power steering leaving drivers to steer manually. That could increase the likelihood of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. No injuries or accidents have been reported. Owners can contact Hyundai's customer service at 1-855-671-3059.
Chinese Manufacturing Activity Shows Contraction
An index that measures China's manufacturing activity showed contraction for the second consecutive month. The latest monthly purchasing managers' index was at 49.9, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing reported. The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. February's reading meant activity contracted from the previous month. The gauge dropped below 50 in January for the first time since October 2012. China's economy, the world's second largest, grew 7.4 percent last year, its slowest expansion in nearly a quarter century, the Associated Press reports.