February 8, 2008 / 6:45 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 8

Feb 8 (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.

* Inflation concerns are rising among some Federal Reserve officials, indicating the magnitude of their next move may be a matter of contention. The most important guidance will come next week when Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate.

* Credit-card delinquencies are rising across the nation, a sign that some Americans are at the end of their rope financially. The result could be a sharp pullback in consumer spending that would further weaken the U.S. economy.

* Congress approved a $168 billion stimulus plan, paving the way for over 135 million households to receive rebate checks, after the Senate agreed to a compromise that closely mirrored the House bill.

* Reeling from a poor Super Tuesday showing, Mitt Romney ended his year-old campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, clearing the way for the presumptive nominee, Senator John McCain, to reach out to skeptical conservatives.

* The Justice Department’s U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, based near Wall Street, has notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it wants to see information the agency is gathering in its investigation of Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N.

* Investigators from the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police today will affirm that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died from a head fracture caused by a suicide bombing, according to people familiar with the matter, a finding that buttresses the initial position of the Pakistani government.

* China’s state-owned investment fund is in advanced discussions to invest $3 billion to $4 billion in a new fund being started by private-equity firm J.C. Flowers.

* Hillary Clinton has emerged as a cash-strapped candidate trying to keep up with Barack Obama in a heated fund-raising battle. She brought in $6.4 million since Super Tuesday, but the Obama campaign had already raised $7.2 million in the same 48 hours.

* Real-estate titan Harry Macklowe and his lenders struggled to reach an agreement on working out $7 billion in debt on seven New York skyscrapers as a deadline approached that would put Mr. Macklowe in default.

* Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) is close to launching the expected capital increase that would shore up its finances.

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