January 13, 2009 / 5:07 AM / 10 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 13

Jan 13 (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.

* Spanish prosecutors are investigating how Banco Santander (SAN.MC) lost more than $3.1 billion for clients by investing with Madoff.

* Alcoa Inc (AA.N) swung to a steep fourth-quarter loss as the aluminum maker posted declines in sales prices and demand in its traditional markets.

* Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) could reach a pact to merge their brokerage units within days. The likely deal shows how brokers are emerging as one of Wall Street’s biggest hopes for recovery.

* CEOs at six major U.S. companies lost their jobs in just the last eight days, a sign of turmoil to come, say directors and recruiters.

* General Motors Corp (GM.N) appears to be off to a slow start to meet the mandates of a federal bailout, and its top executive said the company hasn’t ruled out a bankruptcy filing.

* Christie’s International PLC, the world’s largest auctioneer, says it is making “significant” job cuts in its bid to stay profitable during the art-market slowdown.

* The European Commission said it opened an antitrust investigation into Standard & Poor’s, focusing on whether it abused its dominant market position in the business of assigning identification numbers to stocks and bonds.

* Railroad giant CSX Corp CSX.N said it will take a fourth-quarter non-cash charge of 27 cents a share, due to the economic baggage from the lavish Greenbrier resort it owns in West Virginia.

* Russia agreed to restart gas exports to the European Union via Ukraine on Tuesday morning, potentially ending supply cuts that have stoked concerns over the Continent’s energy security and left tens of thousands of Europeans without central heat in freezing temperatures.

* President-elect Barack Obama intends to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, to head the Federal Communications Commission, a Democratic source close to the Obama transition team said.

* President George W. Bush requested the second half of the $700 billion financial-rescue fund on behalf of President-elect Barack Obama, setting off a renewed political fight over the program as U.S. banks are set to report their worst quarterly results in years.

* The U.K. government is scrambling to put the final touches on a massive new financial-rescue plan that would total billions of pounds and aim to save companies and jobs, according to people familiar with the situation.

* Germany approved the largest fiscal stimulus package in Europe — more than 60 billion euros ($80 billion) in extra spending and tax cuts through 2010 — after criticizing other European countries for their ballooning budget deficits and “crass Keynesianism.”

* Economic and cultural forces reshaping U.S. medicine are prompting an exodus of surgeons, creating a growing market for temporary surgeons-for-hire.

* Democrats are using an early vote on a children’s health-care bill to advance a longstanding effort in the more controversial area of immigration. A bill renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program is expected to pass Congress easily and is being teed up to give President-elect Barack Obama an early victory.

* A federal judge denied prosecutors’ request to jail money manager Bernard Madoff for allegedly violating a court order by mailing more than $1 million worth of valuables to friends and family.

* The head of the United Auto Workers union said he would like the government to appoint a “car czar” who “knows something about the auto industry” to oversee the restructuring of the Big Three.

* A federal appellate court has sided with Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) in a closely watched case on fossil-fuel royalties, blocking the federal government from collecting as much as $10 billion from oil-industry production in the Gulf of Mexico.

* Seagate Technology Inc (STX.O) tapped Chairman Stephen Luczo to resume day-to-day control of the hard-drive maker, which like many firms in the computer industry is dealing with slumping demand.

* The board at troubled Satyam Computer Services Ltd SATY.BO, freshly appointed by the Indian government, said it is looking for a new auditor. The firm’s current auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, have worked with Satyam for about eight years. A replacement firm is expected to be named in the next 48 hours, according to Satyam’s new board.

* Dell Inc DELL.O will pay $3.35 million to settle a lawsuit with 44 states over allegations of misleading consumers about financing terms, warranties and rebates, according to several states’ attorneys general.

* Federal bankruptcy judges say they are eager to have the power to restructure mortgages for struggling debtors because it could save hundreds of thousands of homeowners from foreclosure.

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