March 25, 2008 / 5:39 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 25

March 25 (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.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) raised its bid for Bear Stearns to $10 a share. The new bid gives JPMorgan a 39.5 percent stake in Bear Stearns Cos BSC.N right away, meaning only a few Bear shareholders need to support the deal for it to be approved.

* A glut of foreclosed homes is starting to drive down U.S. home prices as lenders put more properties on the market and buyers show signs of interest. Ability of lenders to manage this fire sale will be crucial to determining how long the housing market stays in the dumps.

* A number of student lenders are backing out of the federal student-loan program amid the credit crunch and government subsidy cuts. Big banks might be reluctant to pick up the slack because they are stretched by the credit crisis.

* Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) will expand gas drilling in several areas around the country and, in a departure, drilling for oil as well, a sign that natural-gas producers are betting on prolonged high energy prices.

* The Justice Department approved the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc (SIRI.O) and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc XMSR.O, saying the deal will not harm competition. The two satellite radio providers still need approval from the Federal Communications Commission to combine their operations.

* Carl Icahn rejected an offer from Motorola Inc MOT.N that would have given him two board seats. The activist investor also sued the company for access to crucial board documents.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission outlined actions it is contemplating to give U.S. investors easier access to overseas markets. Some investor groups worry the commission is moving too quickly to ensure investor protection.

* Protesters disrupted the Beijing Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in Greece. Activists plan to play spoiler along the torch relay’s course to oppose a long list of China’s policies.

* U.S. aviation regulators ordered new checks on Boeing 737 jetliners and inspections of fuel-system components inside propeller-driven general-aviation airplanes, both affecting thousands of aircraft in the United States and worldwide.

* Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) posted unexpectedly strong sales despite a 16 percent drop in net income, a sign high-end shoppers are continuing to spend. The jeweler raised its earnings forecast amid caution about U.S. sales.

* Residents in two Shiite-controlled neighborhoods in Baghdad said armed militias have taken over rooms in several schools and stocked them with rockets, in a sign they could be gearing up for more attacks against the U.S.-backed government.

* Delphi Corp DPHIQ.PK, facing the prospect that its bankruptcy-reorganization plan could start to unravel over the next few weeks because of its inability to obtain $6.1 billion in loans, is trying to buy itself more time.

* Fox Television said it will not pay its part of a $91,000 indecency fine levied recently by the Federal Communications Commission for a 2003 episode of a reality TV show that featured strippers and whipped cream.

* 3Com Corp COMS.O said its fiscal third-quarter loss widened as it booked a tax-related charge and higher acquisition-related expenses. The results come only days after the computer-networking-gear maker’s planned buyout collapsed.

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