PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - April 18

viernes 18 de abril de 2008 08:54 CEST

April 18 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* First-quarter earnings show banks and consumers grappling with falling home prices and tightening credit. Other big businesses, especially those that sell to customers abroad, are proving resilient. One nagging worry on Wall Street -- earnings in other sectors may suffer declines, albeit delayed.

* Natural-gas prices in the U.S. have risen 93 percent since August as power-hungry nations compete in a global market that scarcely existed five years ago. The trend has profound implications for the troubled U.S. economy.

* U.S. commanders in Iraq have begun releasing thousands of detainees and expect to free more than half of the 23,000 held by American forces, according to senior military commanders.

* Internet giant Google Inc (GOOG.O: Cotización) topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter revenue and profit, and it said that the weak economy hadn't hurt its business, as some investors had feared.

* In another embarrassing maintenance blunder involving the aviation industry, General Electric Co (GE.N: Cotización) disclosed it is working with carriers and U.S. regulators to resolve questions about improperly certified parts in dozens of its jet engines

* Union workers at a key General Motors Corp (GM.N: Cotización) plant in Michigan walked off the job, in the latest sign the Big Three auto makers could have trouble reaping the benefits of concessions they won in labor contracts last fall.

* New York state's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, has launched a broad investigation into auction-rate securities, instruments used by municipalities, schools, closed-end mutual funds and others to raise money.

* Federal regulators are expected to announce a legal settlement with three former senior executives of Fannie Mae FNM.N over their alleged roles in an accounting scandal that erupted at the mortgage company in 2004, according to people familiar with the situation.   Continuación...