May 29, 2008 / 7:59 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - May 29

May 29 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The world’s top oil producers are proving unable to put more barrels on thirsty world markets despite sky-high prices, a shift that defies traditional market logic and looks set to continue. Fresh data from the U.S. Department of Energy show the amount of petroleum products shipped by the world’s top oil exporters fell 2.5 percent last year, despite a 57 percent increase in prices.

* Major banks world-wide are contributing to the Libor’s erratic behavior, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. In recent months, the borrowing costs reported by Libor panel banks have been lower than what the cost of default insurance suggests they should be.

* Dow Chemical Co DOW.N, the biggest U.S. chemical manufacturer, said it will boost prices of its products by up to 20 percent, citing soaring energy prices, a move likely to fuel inflation in consumer goods. The company blasted Washington for energy policies it blames for those higher costs.

* The staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to propose rules for credit-ratings firms requiring a new set of risk rankings for complex financial instruments — a move opposed by rating entities, investment banks and others.

* The H.J. Heinz Co HNZ.N is expected to raise its profit- and sales-growth forecasts, with growth anticipated from new products and emerging markets.

* Federal Reserve Governor Frederic Mishkin plans to step down at the end of August and return to academia, leaving the Fed further short-handed as it deals with the credit crisis, possible recession and sweeping changes to financial regulation.

* The chief executive officers of UAL Corp UAUA.O and US Airways Group Inc LCC.N are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss their continuing merger talks and to share information on potential stumbling blocks that UAL directors raised at their last board meeting, said people familiar with the matter.

* Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) said David Sambol, Countrywide Financial Corp’s CFC.N president, won’t be in charge of the companies’ combined mortgage business. The development is a reversal of BofA’s earlier statements, and it’s a sign that the bank will squeeze value out of Countrywide in an attempt to salvage its $4 billion acquisition.

* General Motors Corp (GM.N) is preparing to unveil further restructuring measures aimed at reducing costs and conserving cash. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co (F.N) may slash its U.S. salaried work force by about 2,000 as it looks for further cost cuts amid slumping sales.

* Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) shareholders rejected Rockefeller family-backed proposals to create an independent chairman, handing the oil company’s management a shaky victory. A greenhouse-gas proposal was also defeated.

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