December 24, 2008 / 5:12 AM / 10 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 24

Dec 24 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* A sharper picture is emerging about the investigation into the alleged fraud by Madoff, how it evolved to ensnare bigger clients and how long it went on.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission is gearing up to potentially bring an enforcement action against New York investment company Reserve Management.

* A former stockbroker allegedly conspired with New York lawyer Marc Dreier to defraud hedge funds out of more than $100 million.

* Wachovia Corp’s WB.N shareholders overwhelmingly approved sale of the bank to Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and CEO Steel was appointed to Wells’s board.

* A deepening recession and tight credit conditions are compounding problems in the housing market, suggesting that declines in home prices may continue well into 2009.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission granted a key exemption allowing New York Stock Exchange parent NYSE Euronext NYX.N to clear credit-default swaps in the U.S., though has yet to approve two rival offerings.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 suits alleging it routinely underpaid employees around the country, ending years of embarrassing legal battles over its treatment of workers.

* The regulator of Fannie Mae FNM.P and Freddie Mac FRE.P announced a revised code of conduct aimed at preventing mortgage brokers and lenders from pressuring appraisers to inflate their estimates of home values.

* The largest retail trade association in the United States asked President-elect Barack Obama to add a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days to a coming economic stimulus package in an effort to revive consumer confidence and spur spending.

* Micron Technology Inc MU.N extended its streak of money-losing quarters, as it booked a $369 million write-down of memory chips.

* A top executive at Fry’s Electronics Inc has been arrested on federal charges that he defrauded the retailer of $65 million in a kickback scheme, using much of the money to repay huge gambling debts at Las Vegas casinos.

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