PRESS DIGEST - New York Times business news - April 17
April 17 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in the New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* The collapse of Australia's rice production is one of several factors contributing to a doubling of rice prices in the last three months.
* JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Cotización) became the latest bank to report a plunge in profits -- and all of Wall Street cheered. The results, a mix of slack earnings and bad loans that would have shocked people a year ago, sent the bank's stock soaring 6.7 percent. Another big bank, Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: Cotización), said falling home prices depressed its earnings. Its stock rose 4.3 percent.
* Faced with an economic slump, a growing number of national retailers are abandoning the tradition of reporting monthly store sales and forecasting profits.
* John Donahoe, the new chief of eBay Inc (EBAY.O: Cotización) the Internet's largest e-commerce site, wants the company to operate less like an unruly flea market and more like a strip mall.
* Two researchers warn that the entry of big companies like Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Cotización) and Google Inc (GOOG.O: Cotización) into the field of electronic health records could alter the practice of clinical research and raise new challenges to privacy.
* A flurry of reports portrayed a U.S. economy limping its way through a broad-based downturn, with consumer demand softening and labor and housing markets still struggling.
* Inflation and economic growth have slowed slightly in China, the government announced, saying price controls had limited the cost of many essential items and exports to the United States had weakened.
* Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Cotización) pursuit of Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Cotización), if successful, will leave it with more than one bill due. The shareholders, to be sure, will collect their payment, but Microsoft will most likely need to put together a package of financial incentives to prevent talented engineers and managers from hopping to other jobs in Silicon Valley. Continuación...