Dec 24 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* A sharper picture is emerging about the investigation into the alleged fraud by Madoff, how it evolved to ensnare bigger clients and how long it went on.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission is gearing up to potentially bring an enforcement action against New York investment company Reserve Management.
* A former stockbroker allegedly conspired with New York lawyer Marc Dreier to defraud hedge funds out of more than $100 million.
* Wachovia Corp’s WB.N shareholders overwhelmingly approved sale of the bank to Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and CEO Steel was appointed to Wells’s board.
* A deepening recession and tight credit conditions are compounding problems in the housing market, suggesting that declines in home prices may continue well into 2009.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission granted a key exemption allowing New York Stock Exchange parent NYSE Euronext NYX.N to clear credit-default swaps in the U.S., though has yet to approve two rival offerings.
* Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 suits alleging it routinely underpaid employees around the country, ending years of embarrassing legal battles over its treatment of workers.
* The regulator of Fannie Mae FNM.P and Freddie Mac FRE.P announced a revised code of conduct aimed at preventing mortgage brokers and lenders from pressuring appraisers to inflate their estimates of home values.
* The largest retail trade association in the United States asked President-elect Barack Obama to add a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days to a coming economic stimulus package in an effort to revive consumer confidence and spur spending.
* Micron Technology Inc MU.N extended its streak of money-losing quarters, as it booked a $369 million write-down of memory chips.
* A top executive at Fry’s Electronics Inc has been arrested on federal charges that he defrauded the retailer of $65 million in a kickback scheme, using much of the money to repay huge gambling debts at Las Vegas casinos.