April 15, 2008 / 5:51 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - April 15

April 15 (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.

* Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and Northwest Airlines Corp’s NWA.N boards approved a merger that would create the world’s largest airline by traffic if the deal wins over regulators and employees. The combined carrier would keep Delta’s name and Atlanta headquarters.

* Russian oil production has begun to stagnate and even slump, adding to market uncertainties that have helped push oil prices to record highs.

* Brazil’s Petrobras (PETR4.SA) appeared to have made a major offshore oil strike, a discovery that could turn the country into a big oil exporter.

* Mixing austerity and tax cuts, Senator John McCain will lay out an economic plan that includes increased Medicare premiums for wealthy seniors and a one-year freeze on spending along with a proposal to review a vast swath of federal programs.

* Reflecting the stunning speed with which a funding crisis engulfed Bear Stearns Cos BSC.N, the Wall Street firm reported a profit of 86 cents a share for its fiscal first quarter, which ended just weeks before it agreed to be sold to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for $10 a share.

* Chrysler LLC [CBS.UL] and Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) announced they will join forces to produce full-size pickup trucks for the U.S. market and small cars for North America, Europe and other markets, a development many in the auto industry expected after the two had confirmed talks earlier this year.

* The performance of government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N could have a direct impact on the national economy and, more importantly, U.S. credit standing.

* Wachovia Corp’s WB.N announcement that it is raising about $7 billion in capital, slashing its dividend by 41 percent and logging a loss of $393 million in the first quarter left many investors angry — Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Thompson feeling buyer’s remorse over the $25 billion takeover of Golden West Financial Corp in 2006.

* WellPoint Inc WLP.N, the nation’s largest insurer, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration, plans to announce the launch of one of the first real-time drug-surveillance systems.

* Seagate Technology STX.N has filed a patent-infringement suit against STEC Inc STEC.O, a dispute that could foreshadow new legal hurdles for a technology that stores data on computer chips.

* German prosecutors have broadened their bribery investigation at Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) to include its power-transmission business, suggesting legal woes at Europe’s largest engineering conglomerate are far from over.

* In the latest sign of a slowdown in the casino business, Las Vegas gambling company MGM Mirage (MGM.N) said it is cutting around 440 management employees.

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