PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 2

Dec 2 (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.

* U.S. regulators and several Wall Street banks are in
preliminary talks aimed at reaching settlements to resolve a
probe of sales of mortgage-bond deals that helped unleash the
crisis.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve disclosed the extent to which it
supported foreign banks and U.S.-based investment banks in the
worst days of 2008, and the breadth of its lending to other
firms.

* Republicans and Democrats Wednesday sat down to negotiate
a compromise on extending Bush-era income tax cuts — an effort
that could be the first step toward a deal this month that many
strategists in both parties believe will temporarily extend
current tax rates for all income levels.

* Credit markets are likely to get tougher for midsize
companies and those with the weakest credit ratings, which
could lead to a new wave of bankruptcy filings.

* Seven members of the White House’s deficit commission,
including the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, endorsed
its final plan Wednesday, setting up the prospect of action to
address the nation’s fiscal woes next year.

* Top U.S. retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: )
and Target Corp (TGT.N: ) are battling to limit a new federal law
that could force them to report whether their store-brand goods
contain minerals from war-torn Central Africa.

* Spain and Italy, the countries that with Portugal appear
most at risk from being enveloped by the euro zone’s deepening
debt turmoil, are leading an effort to spur more decisive
action from the European Central Bank in order to prevent the
crisis from spreading further.

* The U.S. economy is starting to fire on more cylinders,
though the upturn remains too weak to bring down high
unemployment. Several reports Wednesday showed the recovery
gaining muscle, including a measure of payrolls showing that
private employers added many more jobs in November than in
previous months and a report on manufacturing saying the
factory sector had notched its 16th straight month of growth.

* Merck & Co (MRK.N: ) is expected to announce Thursday a
deal to buy a closely held biotechnology company in the early
stages of developing a new diabetes treatment, according to a
person familiar with the matter.

* Legislation set to be introduced next year would prohibit
companies from tracking children on the Internet without
parental consent.

* While national chains often use discounts to draw crowds,
many independent specialty stores compete by broadening their
whimsical appeal and learn the science of understanding
trend-conscious consumers.

* A scout for a U.S. petroleum industry research firm is
one of the latest foreigners to fall afoul of Chinese laws that
classify as espionage what much of the rest of the world
considers normal market research.

PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 2