January 17, 2008 / 6:06 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 17

Jan 17 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Developer Ian Bruce Eichner’s default on a $760 million loan for a Las Vegas casino-resort project highlights how the credit crunch, which undermined residential borrowers’ bids to refinance loans, is extending to real-estate projects in the commercial sector.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is “very open-minded” about acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer James Dimon said. The firm said mortgage-origination volume surged despite a 34 percent profit drop.

* The Treasury Department is proposing softening its regulatory grip on Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N, reflecting a growing reliance on them to provide mortgage money.

* Doctors are making inappropriate decisions on prescribing antidepressants because the effectiveness of some medications has been exaggerated by drug makers’ selective publication of favorable results, researchers told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

* The Federal Reserve chairman in congressional testimony is expected to back a growth package structured around business and consumer spending. Consumer prices edged up in December but wages failed to keep pace.

* Global oil-field output is declining at a rate of about 4.5 percent a year, a new study concludes. But new projects in the works could make up for the decline.

* Brocade Communications Systems Inc BRCD.O ex-Chief Executive Officer Gregory Reyes, the first executive convicted at trial of backdating stock options, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $15 million for backdating stock options.

* John McCain is banking on the military vote to win South Carolina. Aides hope his rivals divide the evangelical vote to give him a victory in a state with a sizable population of active-duty military and veterans.

* Oracle Corp’s ORCL.O $8.5 billion deal for software maker BEA Systems Inc BEAS.O and Sun Microsystems Inc JAVA.O pact to buy Swedish start-up MySQL suggest a slowing economy and other forces could kick a recent wave of high-tech deals into higher gear.

* European Union investigators raided drug companies in several countries as the bloc’s antitrust watchdog began a wide investigation of potentially anticompetitive practices in the industry.

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