PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 30
Jan 30 (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.
* Top economic officials are discussing new efforts to help banks while trying to mitigate the cost to taxpayers. President Obama stepped up his rhetorical attacks on the same banks his officials are planning to aid, calling Wall Street bonuses "shameful."
* Some ex-Merrill executives invested money with Madoff, making them the highest-level victims known of his alleged scheme.
* Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Cotización) said profit rose 9 percent and sales surged 18 percent in the fourth quarter as the Internet giant used its pricing muscle to lure shoppers.
* Dell Inc DELL.O, aiming to rev up sales as its mainstay personal-computer business struggles in the recession, is preparing a move into cellphones as early as next month, said people familiar with the matter.
* Durable goods orders slumped 2.6 percent in December for the fifth month in a row. Meanwhile, sales of new homes sank nearly 15 percent.
* Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Cotización) is considering laying off up to 5 percent of its 47,000 employees as markets continue to fall and investment-banking and trading businesses remain sluggish.
* The Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Cotización) executive who succeeded John Thain last week was met with pointed questions about compensation as he urged employees to stay focused on clients amid turbulence at the Charlotte, North Carolina bank.
* Defaults on a popular form of mortgage that gave home buyers a choice of how much to pay each month are rising and could rival those on subprime loans, potentially causing more trouble for investors and banks. Continuación...