PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 15
Jan 15 (Reuters) - 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.
* The government is close to finalizing a deal that would give billions in additional aid to Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Cotización) to help it close its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
* Despite dramatic drops in revenue and profits at Madoff's original stock trading business in recent years, the firm continued to raise staff pay.
* IBM (IBM.N: Cotización) said it plans to open a remote computer-services center in Dubuque, Iowa, that will employ up to 1,300 people by the end of 2010.
* Mark Cuban, the investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is asking a federal court to dismiss a civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November that accused Mr. Cuban of insider trading.
* Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Cotización) is seriously exploring significant work force reductions that could be announced as early as next week, in a sign that the weak economy is prompting tough decisions even at one of the steadiest ships in the technology industry.
* Google Inc (GOOG.O: Cotización) said it is laying off 100 recruiters and is closing some engineering offices, as the downturn continues to take its toll on the Internet giant.
* Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgage loans for prime borrowers have fallen to below 5 percent, the lowest level since the 1950s, triggering a wave of mortgage-loan inquiries from borrowers eager to refinance. But lenders and mortgage companies say that as many as half of the people who want to refinance can't meet the credit hurdles and won't get approved.
* Oil refiners' prospects are improving with lower crude prices and historically low gasoline inventories. Continuación...