October 23, 2007 / 3:44 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - New York Times business - Oct 18

Oct 18 (Reuters) - The following were stories on the New York Times business page on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal investigation into the stock sales of the chief executive of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp CFC.N, a person briefed on the matter said.

* Morgan Stanley (MS.N) has sold its 7.2 percent stake in The New York Times Co (NYT.N), people close to the matter said, bringing an end to a bitter fight between one of the bank’s asset managers and the company.

* The Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to severely limit the use of Avandia, the once-popular drug for Type 2 diabetes, delivering another blow to the product’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L).

* JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc (JPM.N) trudged through the third quarter to post a 2.3 percent increase in earnings, even though its investment banking unit was ravaged by this summer’s credit problems.

* EBay (EBAY.O), the e-commerce company, said it continued to grow quickly in the last quarter with a few stutters related to its slowing core business of Internet auctions.

* Hopes that the Federal Reserve will again cut interest rates at the end of the month were further reduced after a report showed inflation holding steady in September. But a worsening housing slump and a mixed economic outlook could put the Fed in a difficult spot as it considers what steps to take in the months ahead.

* Apple (AAPL.O) is opening up the iPhone at least partly. After engendering frustration from some customers and software makers, Apple has changed its policy to encourage independent developers to build programs for use on the iPhone.

* Some foreign investors may consider leaving India’s red-hot stock markets after regulators unveiled a plan to ban anonymous investment and curb derivatives issues.

* Standard & Poor’s, the credit ratings agency, yesterday downgraded more than 1,700 bonds tied to mortgages that were issued this year, including more than three dozen that received the agency’s highest rating a few months ago.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is likely to study whether to require more extensive tests of critical heart-device components before they are sold, as a result of Medtronic’s (MDT.N) recent problems with such a product, an agency official said.

* Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) are forming a joint venture that will allow them to share profits and up to an estimated $8 billion in annual revenue on trans-Atlantic routes.

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