March 20 (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.
* U.S. airlines may face a new round of restructuring amid a stumbling economy and spiraling fuel prices. Consolidation was expected to insulate domestic carriers, but a proposed merger of Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and Northwest Airlines NWA.N expected to jump-start deal making appears to have hit a wall.
* Some hedge funds, including Harbinger, Greenlight, and Tremblant, made millions as Bear Stearns’ BSC.N stock fell. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at a spike in options betting on a Bear drop.
* The Federal Reserve’s latest dose of medicine to calm the credit crunch appears to be working in at least the all-important mortgage-bond market where yields have dropped in recent days.
* Five years after launching the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush strongly signaled that he won’t order troop withdrawals beyond those already planned because he refuses to “jeopardize the hard-fought gains” of the past year.
* With the debate raging over why oil has risen past $100 a barrel, the Bush administration has joined a growing camp that says an unusually tight market could keep prices high well into the future, with no easy fix in sight.
* The Big Three U.S. auto makers — General Motors Corp (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Chrysler LLC — are preparing cost cuts and other belt-tightening measures in case a slumping U.S. economy hurts sales more than expected.
* Confusion surrounded the buyout of Clear Channel Communications (CCU.N) amid escalating tensions between the private-equity companies behind the deal and the banks that have agreed to finance it.
* The chief executive of Morgan Stanley (MS.N) saw his company post sharply lower first-quarter results, but like Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N the day before, its earnings were better than some analysts had feared.
* A federal appeals court has turned down Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) request to hold off imposition of an injunction against sales of some of the company’s cellphone chips, while Qualcomm pursues an appeal of a patent suit won by rival Broadcom Corp BRCM.O.