PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 18

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:45am EST

Dec 18 - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations that one of its highest-profile investment bankers tried to "improperly influence" research analysts days before Facebook Inc went public in May. ()

* Apple Inc is in early discussions to integrate local data from Foursquare Labs Inc into its mapping application, according to people familiar with the talks, as the company continues to build an arsenal of local data to try to take on Google Inc. ()

* A U.S. judge denied Apple Inc's request to seek a ban on the sale of some Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's products in the U.S. market. ()

* General Electric Co is on the verge of agreeing to a deal to buy Italian aerospace group Avio SpA for as much as 3 billion euros ($3.95 billion), according to people familiar with the negotiations. ()

* Sprint Nextel Corp said it reached a $2.2 billion agreement to buy the half of Clearwire Corp it doesn't already own, forcing the wireless broadband operator's shareholders to choose between a deal that could save the struggling company and a price that is lower than many had expected. ()

* Elliot Management Corp offered to buy the remaining stake in Compuware Corp that the hedge fund doesn't already own in a deal that values the software company at roughly $2.4 billion. ()

* Spain's Banco Santander SA said it would fully take over its publicly traded affiliate Banco Español de Crédito SA or Banesto, in a deal that will result in the closure of about 700 branches and underscores the gathering pace of restructuring in the country's stricken banking sector. ()

* Boeing Co said it will raise its quarterly dividend by 10 percent and resume a $7 billion share-buyback program, providing a long-awaited disclosure of plans to redeploy cash back to shareholders. ()

* Chevron Corp has offered to pay $149 million to settle two civil lawsuits in Brazil related to an oil spill in late 2011, with final approval of the deal likely in January, Brazil's federal prosecutor's office said. ()

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, removed a website listing for a semiautomatic assault rifle similar to the gun used in the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre. ()

* Edison International's wholesale-power unit, Edison Mission Energy, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an anticipated move that the parent company said would cost at least $1.5 billion. ()

* President Barack Obama backed away from his long-standing call for raising tax rates on households making more than $250,000 a year, a development that inches the White House and congressional Republicans closer to a budget deal. ()

* The mass shooting in Connecticut appears to be reshaping the politics of gun control, with several ardent supporters of gun rights in Congress calling for steps to toughen the nation's weapons laws. ()

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