Buffett buffet nets US$2.17m
Billionaire Warren Buffett’s annual charity auction raised US$2.17 million, rebounding from a five-year low. Singapore’s Andy Chua won the right to dine with the world’s third-richest man and bring as many as seven friends. He won the 15th iteration of the week-long event with a single bid, according to a page on EBay Inc’s Web site. Buffett, 83, has raised about US$17.8 million with the auction for San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, which provides services for the poor. Last year’s winner, who chose to remain anonymous, paid US$1,000,100 for the lunch meeting with Buffett. That compared with top bids of at least US$1.6 million from 2008 through 2012. The first auction raised US$25,000 in 2000.
Key interest rate trimmed
The unexpected interest rate cut on Friday is a calculated risk to recover from the slowest growth in four years without losing control over inflation. Mexico’s central bank, led by Governor Agustin Carstens, reduced the overnight rate by half a percentage point to a record-low 3 percent on Friday, surprising all 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who had forecast no change. Domestic demand and investments have failed to recover, holding back the economy even as exports rebound, the central bank said in announcing its decision. Carstens, who has only reached the 3 percent inflation target in one month since coming to office in January 2010, is adding stimulus to an economy where growth has missed analysts’ forecasts in seven of the past eight quarters and inflation remains above target.
Sony reclaims gaming lead
Sony topped worldwide sales of video game consoles for the first time in eight years, a newspaper reported yesterday, passing struggling rival Nintendo and signaling the Playstation manufacturer’s comeback. Sony Computer Entertainment sold 18.7 million PlayStation 4 (PS4) systems and other game consoles for the fiscal year to March, the Nikkei business daily said, to Nintendo’s 16.31 million units. Almost 7 million PS4s were sold, but Sony’s overall sales of hardware, still fell about 20 percent for the fiscal year, the report said. Nintendo’s console sales slid 31 percent as the portable Nintendo 3DS system failed to entice gamers, while the new Wii U also fared poorly, it added. Microsoft’s sales rose 16 percent to 11.6 million with the rollout of the Xbox One last year, the report added.
UPS’ COO plots growth
The incoming head of United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) said on Friday that the world’s largest parcel delivery company is to continue investing to build capacity in emerging markets and to expand its services, especially in healthcare, its fastest-growing segment after e-commerce. Chief operating officer David Abney, 58, named on Friday to succeed chief executive Scott Davis on Sept. 1, also said the company would make acquisitions to build its capabilities overseas and did not rule out large deals. Expansion in emerging markets is “our number one priority,” Abney said in a telephone interview. Trade among emerging markets is growing rapidly and UPS expects that eventually 95 percent of consumers will be outside the US.