January 6, 2009 / 5:14 AM / 10 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 6

Jan 6 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* President-elect Barack Obama met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to begin selling his economic-stimulus plan as his advisers offered more details, including a proposal to expand the child tax credit for poor families.

* Prosecutors sought to have Madoff jailed, while SEC officials were grilled on Capitol Hill for having repeatedly overlooked signs of his alleged decadeslong fraud.

* General Motors Corp (GM.N), Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) reported U.S. sales declines of more than 30 percent for December, capping a dismal year for the industry. Chrysler’s plunged 53 percent.

* Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Steve Jobs said a “hormone imbalance” was responsible for his dramatic weight loss, but he provided so few details of his condition that it raised new questions about his health.

* Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) promoted Bob Muglia to president of the company’s server and tools business, making him one of four divisional presidents.

* Robert McCann, the brokerage chief at Merrill Lynch & Co, is leaving the securities firm just after its acquisition by Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) was completed.

* Japan’s cash-rich trading companies, such as Marubeni (8002.T) and Itochu Corp (8001.T), are on the hunt for bargain acquisitions outside Japan, seizing the opportunity to expand abroad while the stronger yen makes purchases cheaper and potential competitors are sidelined by the credit crisis.

* Germany’s ruling coalition agreed to the broad outlines of a fiscal-stimulus program valued at as much as 50 billion euros ($69 billion) this year and next to fight the country’s worsening recession, senior officials said.

* A bond-market organization announced a timeline for imposing penalties on those who have borrowed Treasury securities and then failed to return them. The Treasury Market Practices Group, which made the recommendation, is trying to tackle a chronic issue in what is called the repurchase, or repo, market, where dealers, companies and hedge funds go to borrow and lend one another Treasury securities, which can then be used as collateral for funding.

* As layoffs and store closures grip the U.S., families embracing frugality are also a major reason the downturn may not soon end.

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered reductions in natural gas bound for the European Union via Ukraine, accusing the nation of stealing EU deliveries in transit, as a dispute between the two nations worsened.

* Borders Group Inc BGP.N appointed a new chief executive, as the books and media retailer struggles with slumping sales and an anemic share price.

* Richard Bond quit as chief executive officer of Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) amid internal tensions over how to navigate the meat industry’s worst slump in decades.

* Citgo Petroleum Corp, the U.S. refiner owned by the Venezuelan government, will suspend charitable contributions of home heating oil to poor U.S. households — a sign that falling oil prices may hamstring Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whose administration has used an oil windfall to win voters’ loyalty at home and allies abroad.

* Nasdaq launched its clearinghouse for interest-rate-swap futures, aiming to sell equity stakes in the new market.

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