The daily business briefing: February 22, 2016

Harold Maass
AP Photo/ Manu Fernandez


British pound falls as E.U. exit battle heats up

The British pound fell by 1.7 percent on Monday due to fears that the U.K. will vote to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron is heading to the House of Commons to drum up support for remaining in the E.U. in a June referendum. Cameron says a deal he struck on Friday with the 28-nation E.U. would protect the status of the pound against the euro single currency. London Mayor Boris Johnson, one of the country's most popular politicians, said in a column in Monday's Daily Telegraph newspaper that he would campaign for exiting the E.U.


Samsung shows off its latest iPhone competitor

Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones on Sunday at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. The South Korean tech giant's high-end competitors for Apple's iPhone look nearly identical to the S6 line, but Samsung brought back a memory-card slot and removable batteries with extended life. The S7 has a 5.1-inch screen while the S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch screen, the same size as the iPhone 6s Plus. Samsung also showed off the Gear 360, a new 360-degree camera designed to work with the S7 and boost sales in a slowing smartphone market.


HSBC profits miss expectations as China trouble creates 'bumpier' road

HSBC reported Monday that its profit slipped to $13.5 billion last year, down 1.2 percent from the year before and below analysts' expectations. The news sent HSBC shares tumbling by 4.7 percent. The London-based bank also warned of a "bumpier" road ahead because of a slowdown in China, home of the world's second largest economy. HSBC is cutting thousands of jobs and selling businesses in Brazil and other countries to focus on Asia, where it expects rising wealth to drive profits.


Rising oil prices lift stocks

U.S. stock index futures gained early Monday, thanks largely to an uptick in oil prices. Crude prices rose by 3 percent, due to a decline in the number of U.S. rigs and a projection by the International Energy Agency that U.S. shale oil output would fall. Shares also rose in Europe and Asia. London's resources-heavy FTSE 100 index gained 1.1 percent, in line with other European markets.


San Bernardino victims back government effort to unlock killer's iPhone

Some victims of the deadly San Bernardino attack are filing a legal brief backing the Justice Department's effort to force Apple to help unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters, a lawyer for the victims said Sunday. "They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen," the lawyer, Stephen Larson, said. Apple says providing a backdoor into the iPhone would damage security. FBI Director James Comey said in an open letter Sunday that the FBI just wants a way to "guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing."

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