PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 16

Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – The following were the top stories in
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Reuters has not verified
these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: ), after vowing to fight
requests that it repurchase certain loans, has begun potential
settlement discussions with some of its largest mortgage
investors, according to people familiar with the situation.

* Congress moved toward final approval of U.S. President
Barack Obama’s tax plan, as the Senate approved it by a wide
margin and House leaders worked to keep liberal critics from
derailing its passage.

* In a flashback to the late 1990s, online-trading firms
catering to small investors are lining up to go public. This
time, though, they are hoping to capitalize on mom and pop’s
fervent interest in trading foreign currencies rather than
Internet stocks.

* Distressed-debt specialists give the U.S. a “B” for its
handling of its $388 billion investment in a portfolio of
struggling U.S. companies during the financial crisis.

* Spain faces a key test of investor confidence in its
economic survival plan as it seeks to raise money from bond
markets a day after ratings firm Moody’s rekindled worries
about the country’s ability to service its debts.

* U.S. President Barack Obama pressed 20 corporate chief
executives to suggest policies that would spur them to “start
investing in job creating enterprises.”

* A start-up with several high-profile backers is planning
to unveil a system Thursday that it says will help find buyers
for some of the millions of concert and sports tickets that go
unsold every year. The system aims to sell the tickets in a way
that doesn’t undermine their face value, though some sports and
entertainment executives are skeptical.

* The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil oil-spill
lawsuit Wednesday against a BP PLC (BP.L: ) unit and several
other companies, the federal government’s first major legal
action in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

* Inflation remained extremely low in November, despite
signs of a strengthening economic recovery, while industrial
production saw its largest gain in four months. The consumer
price index rose 0.1 percent for the month, putting it up just
1.1 percent from a year earlier, the Labor Department said.

* Novartis AG (NOVN.VX: ) paved the way to take full
ownership of Alcon Inc (ACL.N: ) after sweetening its original
share offer with a cash component, ending a drawn-out battle to
acquire the remaining 23 percent of the U.S. eye-care company
in a deal worth $12.9 billion.

* Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: ) promoted the heads of its two
largest businesses to the company’s highest executive suite,
intensifying the race to succeed William Weldon as chairman and
chief executive officer of the health-care giant.

* Retailers used to think they had customers in the bag.
Now, thanks to mobile-shopping programs, competitors can beat a
store’s prices — even as customers are standing in its
aisles.

PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 16