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Feb 18 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in the New York Times business pages on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* The price tag for bailing out General Motors Corp (GM.N) and Chrysler jumped by another $14 billion, to $39 billion, with the two automakers saying they would need the additional aid from the federal government to remain solvent.
* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it could not account for $8 billion in assets held by the Stanford Financial Group.
* General Motors Corp's (GM.N) expansive lineup was once its primary weapon, but it plans to cut four brands, including Saturn and the long-lived Pontiac division.
* Starbucks Corp's (SBUX.O) move to sell instant coffee falls is taking place as the company is battling for growth as consumers rein in spending.
* Alaska is fast becoming a testing ground for new technologies and an unlikely experiment in oil-state support for renewable energy.
* President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill into law on Tuesday as leaders of both parties moved to position themselves for a political battle over who was responsible for the economy's problems and whether the legislation was the solution.
* Lawyers for customers of Banco Santander (SAN.MC) who lost money that had been invested with Bernard L. Madoff said the investors were not swayed by a sweetened offer of compensation.
* After posting results that showed it was benefiting more than any American retailer from the recession, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) proffered some new year's resolutions: hang onto its millions of new customers for the long haul, and widen its influence on national issues like the environment, energy and health care.
* Eastern European countries that have not adopted the euro are struggling with sharp swings.