PRESS DIGEST – New York Times business news – Dec 23

Dec 23 (BestGrowthStock) – The following were the top stories in
The New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
(HOT.N: ) reached a settlement over claims that Hilton executives
stole confidential documents related to Starwood’s successful W
chain.

* The last-minute holiday surge is heralding the return of
the American consumer, who is shedding the recession’s thrifty
ways and rediscovering the pleasure of shopping. The malls are
jammed, parking lots snarled and sales expected to stay strong
in the few remaining days before Christmas.

* The number-crunchers on Wall Street are starting to
crunch something else: the news. Math-loving traders are using
powerful computers to speed-read news reports, editorials,
company Web sites, blog posts and even Twitter messages — and
then letting the machines decide what it all means for the
markets.

* As cities and states struggle to pay for pensions,
Prichard, Alabama, is a worst case. Some retirees have become
destitute. Prichard, Alabama did something that pension experts
say they have never seen before: it stopped sending monthly
pension checks to its 150 retired workers, breaking a state law
requiring it to pay its promised retirement benefits in full.

* The Obama administration filed a case against China with
the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, siding with an
American labor union, the United Steelworkers, in accusing
Beijing of illegally subsidizing the production of wind power
equipment.

* Time Inc is splitting its signature magazine division in
two, the latest and final piece of a broader reorganization by
the new chief executive, Jack Griffin, to realign swiftly the
many diffuse and distinct units within the world’s largest
magazine publisher.

* Rising prices for birds and gold pushed the cost of the
12 gifts — from the partridge in the pear tree to the 12
drummers drumming — up by 9.2 percent to $23,439.38, according
to PNC Wealth Management, the second-biggest increase since the
Christmas Price Index was started 27 years ago.

* Spain surpassed France as the European country operating
the biggest high-speed train network with about 1,240 miles,
compared with France’s 1,178 miles.

* As confidence returns, some London bankers expect
European takeovers to increase more than 15 percent next year
from this year.

PRESS DIGEST – New York Times business news – Dec 23