Sept 18 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* The financial crisis entered a potentially dangerous new phase as investors worldwide frantically moved their money into the safest investments, like Treasury bills.
* The mighty U.S. Federal Reserve is being stretched to its limits, both in the range of problems it is being asked to fix and in its financial firepower.
* A day after the Fed's stunning takeover of American International Group Inc (AIG.N), its new managers began contemplating a breakup of the insurer's far-flung empire and selling it off in coming months.
* In rescuing AIG, Washington has likely undercut future efforts to promote free market policies abroad.
* Washington Mutual Inc (WM.N), the nation's largest thrift, has begun exploring a sale in the event that it cannot find some other way to raise additional capital.
* Comments by the U.S. presidential candidates and members of Congress indicate Wall Street troubles could reverberate.
* Support seemed to be growing quickly on Capitol Hill for $25 billion in loan guarantees to assist the auto industry.
* Regulators this week proposed a significant change in accounting rules to encourage industry consolidation.
* Many investors in Asia are questioning the wisdom of being invested in the U.S. to the tune of trillions of dollars.
* In London, where a large number of hedge funds have been shuttered, the market retreat has had a particular resonance.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected on Thursday to announce proposals for regulating the meat and milk from genetically engineered animals.
* Government data show construction of new homes and apartments fell by a larger-than-expected 6.2 percent in August, the slowest pace since January 1991.