January 14, 2008 / 6:26 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 14

Jan 14 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Regulators are reviewing instances in which one arm of an investment bank traded in the stock of a company being advised on a deal by another arm, to determine if it was coincidental.

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether several current and former Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N employees improperly placed trades for the firm’s own account ahead of client orders.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has decided to speak more often and more clearly about the economic outlook, after the Fed was blasted for contradictory signals.

* More federal bankruptcy judges are calling into question the business practices of Countrywide Financial Corp CFC.N, as Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) prepares to buy the ailing mortgage lender.

* U.S. President George W. Bush offered a cautious critique of political repression in the Middle East, reassuring nervous Arab leaders of continuing U.S. support while calling political and social change inevitable.

* Music company EMI is set to announce that it will cut up to 2,000 jobs, drop artists and slash marketing costs as part of a radical restructuring.

* Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and its partners agreed to double a Kazakhstan state-owned company’s stake in the Kashagan field in a deal to end a standoff with the government.

* Start-up Fisker Automotive Inc is expected to unveil a battery-powered luxury car, with backing from Silicon Valley venture capital. Auto makers are scrambling to offer alternatives to traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.

* In a sign the UK government is preparing for a possible nationalization of troubled mortgage lender Northern Rock Plc NRK.L, it has enlisted a senior insurance-industry executive to help run the company.

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