Oct 30 (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.
* The market is convinced that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday. But for policy makers, the decision is between the quarter-point reduction and no cut at all. A half-point cut is unlikely to get serious consideration from Fed officials, though some in the market expect it.
* Merrill Lynch & Co Inc’s MER.N board is considering naming a director as non-executive chairman on an interim basis, according to a person briefed on the plan. Lawyers for Merrill and Chief Executive Stan O’Neal continued talks on an exit package that could exceed $160 million.
* The U.S. Senate plans to review a consumer-safety bill calling for more transparency in the recall process and stiffer penalties. The moves represent efforts to address what consumer groups and critics widely see as the weakness and inefficiency of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
* Google Inc (GOOG.O) plans to unveil within the next two weeks a proposal to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of 2008. The Web giant’s ambitious goal: to make applications and services as accessible on cellphones as they are on the Internet.
* The New York Stock Exchange, owned by NYSE Euronext NYX.N, and a dozen Wall Street firms plan to form a joint venture for investors who want to discreetly trade large blocks.
* Meebo Inc, a Silicon Valley start-up aiming to morph from a Web-instant-messaging company into a general-purpose media company, will open its Web site to software developers, throwing it into possible competition with the likes of Facebook and Google.
* Saks Inc SKS.N shareholder Baugur Group, an Icelandic investment firm, said in a regulatory filing that it would like to explore the possibility of acquiring the luxury retailer. Baugur, which holds an 8.5 percent stake in Saks, said it might make a joint bid with Dubai-based Landmark Group, which is owned by Indian retail billionaire Micky Jagtiani.
* UBS AG’s UBSN.VX fourth-quarter warning stoked increasing anxiety that the pain from the credit-market turmoil might last longer than investors had hoped. Switzerland’s UBS warned of more potential losses ahead on U.S. mortgage-backed securities.
* In a risky change of strategy, Democrats are pursuing a plan that would dare President George W. Bush to veto a massive bill that combines spending for veterans care, education and the Pentagon. The package, which combines three bills into one, would total almost $675 billion in discretionary spending for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
* A move by federal regulators to strike down exclusive contracts between cable-television providers and apartment-building owners might be a victory for phone companies but could have little immediate impact on the marketplace.
* General Motors Corp (GM.N) plans to invest in researching environmentally friendly technologies for the Chinese market, as concerns about pollution and fossil fuels deepen in the world’s fastest-growing auto market.