PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Oct 19

Oct 19 (BestGrowthStock) – The following were the top stories in
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified
these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* BP Plc (BP.L: ), which faced accusations that it
precipitated the Gulf of Mexico oil spill by placing profits
before safety, said in an internal memo to its staff that
safety would be the sole criterion for rewarding employee
performance in its operating business for the fourth quarter.

* As banks restart foreclosures they had suspended,
bondholders are stepping up efforts to recoup losses on soured
mortgage portfolios amid concern about sloppy mortgage
servicing and underwriting practices.

* EU governments reached a deal to tighten rules governing
the bloc’s public finances and set the stage for a battle to
change the EU’s governing treaties to forge tougher penalties
for countries that violate debt and deficit limits.

* The ECB refrained from purchasing government bonds last
week for the first time since a controversial program aimed at
shoring up shaky euro-zone countries such as Greece and Ireland
began more than five months ago.

* Two major lenders at the center of the foreclosure crisis
took steps Monday to put the mess behind them by restarting
home seizures that were frozen by documentation concerns. Bank
of America Corp (BAC.N: ) reopened more than 100,000 foreclosure
actions, declaring that it had found no significant problems in
its procedures for seizing homes. GMAC Mortgage, a lender and
loan servicer, said that it also is pushing ahead with an
unspecified number of foreclosures that came under intense
pressure.

* Two major electric utilities, Northeast Utilities (NU.N: )
and NStar (NST.N: ), have agreed to a $4.3 billion merger
intended to create a power company with enough heft to help New
England states achieve their ambitious clean-energy goals.

* A Citigroup Inc (C.N: ) banker intentionally misled Guy
Hands, founder of private-equity firm Terra Firma Capital
Partners Ltd, about a May 2007 auction of EMI Group Plc to
bolster the bank’s potential fees on the deal, a Terra Firma
lawyer said Monday. His assertion came at the start of a trial
over the ill-fated acquisition of the British recording
company.

* Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHG.AS: ) Monday posted a
better-than-expected third-quarter net profit on cost-cutting,
improved organic growth and a stake sale, but its outlook
remained cautious.

* In a surprise move, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: ) and Viacom
Inc’s (VIAb.N: ) Paramount Pictures renegotiated a tangled
agreement over distribution rights to movies made by Marvel
Entertainment, the creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk
and about 5,000 other comic-book heroes and villains.

* The cost to unwind Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc climbed
to $982 million in September after dozens of lawyers,
consultants and advisers collectively took in $49 million in
fees and expenses.

* America’s industrial output fell last month for the first
time in over a year, in the latest sign that the manufacturing
boom that has helped bolster the U.S. economy is subsiding.

PRESS DIGEST – Wall Street Journal – Oct 19