By Nadia Damouni and Suzanne Barlyn NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chip maker NXP Semiconductors NV has agreed to buy smaller peer Freescale Semiconductor Ltd and merge operations in a deal valuing the combined company at over $40 billion. The transaction is the clearest sign yet that semiconductor companies are regaining the confidence required to pursue big mergers and acquisitions at a time when their major clients, such as mobile phone manufacturers, seek to consolidate suppliers. Freescale also has its chips in consumer products such as Amazon's Kindle e-reader. Last month, Avago Technologies said it would buy wireless networking company Emulex Corp for more than $600 million, while MaxLinear said it would buy Entropic Communications Inc for $287 million.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday, after the S&P 500 scored its best monthly performance in more than three years and ahead of data on the consumer and manufacturing sector.
By Christopher Johnson LONDON (Reuters) - Brent crude oil fell almost 2 percent toward $61 a barrel on Monday after Iran said a deal on its nuclear program could be agreed this week if the West lifted sanctions, which could boost the country's oil exports. Oil prices were also depressed by a stronger dollar and reports of a rise in Libyan crude output, traders said. Brent crude hit a low of $61.18 a barrel and was at $61.30 by 7.20 a.m. ET, down $1.28. "If there is the political will to accept that an agreement and sanctions cannot go together, then we can have an agreement this time," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Geneva.
Not all of the seven who point to June vote this year on the Fed's ten-member policy setting committee, but all participate in policy discussions. The Fed is likely at its March 17th and 18th policy meeting to remove language saying the central bank will take a "patient" approach to raising rates, taking away the final verbal constraint to a June rate hike, current and former Fed officials say. "It's likely they remove 'patient' in March," said David Stockton, a former Fed research director now at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "Even if Yellen might not, left to her own devices, be ready to move on rates, there is probably a growing sentiment that the time is getting closer." The use of the word "patient" signals that the Fed would wait at least two more meetings before considering a rate hike. If the Fed later this month says it remains patient, then a June increase is off the table, likely pushing the decision to September when the Fed is scheduled to hold a press conference after its meeting. Stockton said he personally expects a September liftoff.
Warren Buffett, at a news conference in Bengaluru in 2011, lavishly praised Berkshire Hathaway executive Ajit Jain for smoothly running much of the conglomerate's insurance businesses. Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer and chairman of Berkshire, said he would also support Jain if ever he decided to seek Buffett’s post. Speculation has been mounting among Berkshire investors as to who will eventually succeed the 84-year-old Buffett. The field was finally narrowed when, in a letter to shareholders on Saturday, Buffett revealed that he and the board had found his successor, and his second-in-command, Charlie Munger, identified Jain and Greg Abel, the head of Berkshire's energy companies, as front-runners for the top job.