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Warren Buffett’s confidence in IBM appears to be waning. Citing “tough competitors” the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway revealed that he had dumped a third of his roughly 81m-share stake in the company. In an interview with business news network CNBC, Mr Buffett said he had sold the substantial holding — which would be worth more than $4bn at the current share price — after revising his view of IBM’s competitive prospects.
Berkshire’s most recent annual report pegged the value of its IBM stake at $13.5bn at the end of last year. The company’s fortunes have been hit by the rise of cloud computing, which has lessened demand for its IT equipment and services. These are heavily geared towards companies that install and run their own IT facilities. It posted its 20th straight quarter of sales declines in the quarter that ended in March, with revenues slipping 3 per cent to $18.2bn. (FT)
In the news
North Korea alleges US assassination plot North Korea has accused the CIA of a plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un with “biochemical substances”. The news came as the United Nations atomic agency said satellite imagery suggested Pyongyang was continuing with its nuclear programme. (BBC, Jazeera)
Crude falls to lowest in six months Brent crude, the international benchmark, dropped to $46.64 in Asian trading on Friday. The price rallied slightly but the volatility heightens concerns over the sustainability of the recovery in the oil market as Opec struggles to curb supplies in the face of a resurgent US shale industry. (FT)
Macron files fake news lawsuit The Paris prosecutor’s office says it has opened a preliminary investigation into whether false news is being used to influence voting in Sunday’s French presidential election run-off. The probe started after centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron filed a lawsuit over social media rumours he had hidden wealth offshore. (Al Jazeera)
Tone down the Brexit rhetoric Donald Tusk, the European Council president, has called for a ceasefire in the verbal hostilities over Brexit with UK prime minister Theresa May, warning that talks could become “impossible” if calm is not restored. Here’s Martin Wolf on how Mrs May still has a chance to assure a smooth transition. (FT)
‘Obamacare is dead’ So said Donald Trump after US House Republicans voted narrowly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But the bill faces a steeper climb in the Senate, where the party’s majority is narrower. (FT, WaPo)
Test your knowledge of this week’s news with the FirstFT quiz. Which commodity price hit record levels this week after bad weather?
It’s a big day for
France It is the final day of campaigning ahead of presidential elections. On Sunday, French voters will head to the polls to choose between the frontrunner, centrist former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right Marine Le Pen, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin. (FT)
UK Conservatives Early results from UK local elections show that the ruling Conservative party is heading for a strong victory, which could help boost Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to extend her parliamentary majority in next month’s general election. (BBC)
China’s aviation industry The country’s challenger to Airbus and Boeing, the Comac C919, is set for the skies at last with a maiden voyage. It comes more than 30 years after China’s previous attempt to build a large airliner ended in failure. (FT)
Food for thought
The mysterious 50 Cent For months Wall Street traders have been consumed by a mystery investor who has been buying millions of dollars of insurance against financial meltdown. Nicknamed ‘50 Cent’ after the rapper known for his album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, some believe the mystery buyer may be based in London, just a few minutes walk from Buckingham Palace. (FT)
Erdogan’s blacklist Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown has filled Turkey’s jails, flooded its courthouses, torn families apart and helped him secure an almost unimpeachable presidency, where all power flows through him. Meet the victims of what Turks call Ohal. (FT)
Murky waters The story of how a utility poured raw sewage into London’s rivers causing an environmental disaster, but all the while awarded huge dividends to its investors. The pollution, which took place over three years, resulted in a record £20.3m fine but it raises questions over whether England’s decision to allow private players to run the public water system for profit is working. (FT)
Defusing the demographic time bomb Populations in Asia-Pacific countries are growing older faster than the rest of the world, according to the United Nations. The region is counting high-tech remedies to try and turn back the clock. (NAR)
Over the North Pole With global warming melting sea ice across the Arctic, shipping routes once thought impossible are gradually going to open in the coming decades. (NYT)
The end of the overland adventure? A golden era of travel has come to an end. Why we no longer take the roads less travelled. (FT)
Video of the day
Mayor of LA: presidential contender? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may not be quite ready to run for president — but he is already taking on Donald Trump on issues such as immigration and the future of work. He speaks to Gillian Tett, US managing editor, at the FTWeekend Berggruen Institute event. (FT)