PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Aug 18

Aug 18 (BestGrowthStock) – The following were the top stories in
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified
these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Despite modest gains in college-readiness among
high-school students, new data show that fewer than 25 percent
of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam
possessed the skills necessary to pass entry-level courses.

* Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: )
(BLT.L: ) made an unsolicited $38.6 billion offer for the world’s
largest fertilizer producer, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc
(POT.TO: ), in an aggressive wager that developing economies will
drive up demand for the world’s food supply.

* Mark Hurd, the Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ) CEO who
resigned this month after a run-in with directors over
business-conduct violations, told acquaintances that he has
been approached with suggestions of new jobs.

* While mortgage delinquencies are easing, banks are facing
a new round of losses from loans made just before the financial
crisis, and the fight to keep them off their balance sheets is
intensifying. Leading the charge to make originators repurchase
their loans are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two
government-owned finance agencies that guaranteed the
mortgages.

* Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ) is launching a campaign to line up TV
networks’ support for its new Google TV software, but many
remain reluctant to partner with a service that encroaches on
their turf.

* MGA Entertainment Inc, the maker of Bratz dolls accused
Mattel Inc (MAT.O: ) of spying on its rivals and stealing trade
secrets for at least 15 years, as the ongoing legal battle
between the two toymakers turns nastier.

* Michael Dell, Dell Inc’s (DELL.O: ) leader and largest
shareholder, suffered a serious protest vote from investors
despite his reelection to its board of directors during the
computer maker’s Aug. 12 annual meeting.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: ) reported a 3.6 percent gain
in second-quarter earnings Tuesday and raised its annual profit
forecast, despite notching negative sales at U.S. stores open
at least a year for the fifth consecutive quarter.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission has started a
formal probe of possible insider trading by current and former
officers and directors of mall owner General Growth Properties
Inc (GGP.N: ).

* News Corp (NWSA.O: ), owner of the Fox network, Fox News
and newspapers including the New York Post and The Wall Street
Journal, gave $1 million in late June to the Republican
Governors Association, making it one of the largest corporate
donors to the GOP group this election season.

* A federal judge criticized as “a sweetheart deal” the
proposed $298 million settlement that would allow Barclays Bank
Plc (BARC.L: ) to avoid prosecution for altering financial
records to hide the movement of funds into the U.S. from Iran,
Cuba and other prohibited countries.

PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Aug 18