PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 30

Dec 30 (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.

* Home appraisals, which were blamed for being too generous
during the housing boom, are now being criticized by some
homeowners for being too stingy, preventing them from
refinancing or borrowing against their houses.

* Authorities unveiled charges against a California
technology consultant Winifred Jiau, in an insider-trading
probe, with obtaining and providing inside information about
Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O: ) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd (MRVL.O: ).
She is the seventh charged with ties to an “expert-network”
firm.

* Some big U.S. banks are starting to increase lending to
businesses as demand for loans rises and healthier banks seek
to grab customers from weaker rivals.

* The Navy awarded multibillion-dollar contracts to
Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: ) and the U.S. unit of Australia’s
Austal Ltd (ASB.AX: ), finalizing a revamped plan to buy two
designs for a new class of warship known as the Littoral Combat
Ship.

* Japan may be moving in the direction of eventually
creating a sovereign-wealth fund, a kind of government-funded
vehicle that takes direct investment stakes.

* White House adviser Elizabeth Warren and a top lieutenant
are quietly asking business and consumer groups for names of
people who might run the new Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau.

* Scorching summer heat in South America is cutting harvest
forecasts in one of the world’s key farm belts, helping propel
crop prices to two-year highs and fueling concerns about tight
global supplies.

* State and local tax revenues continue to recover as the
economy improves, but remain below pre-recession peaks and are
likely to face continued pressure in 2011. Combined state and
local tax revenues rose 5.2 percent to $284.3 billion in the
third quarter of 2010 from the same period a year ago, the
Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

* Canada is poised to cut its corporate-tax rate to 16.5
percent on Jan. 1, part of a decade-long campaign that some
experts say is making the country one of the most
cost-effective places to do business in the developed world.

* Chinese manufacturing growth and the pace of price
increases both slowed in December but were still at relatively
high levels, the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers
Index showed Thursday.

* More banks failed in 2010 than any year since the
savings-and-loan crisis ended in 1992, but regulators said
Wednesday that they believe failures have passed their peak.

PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Dec 30