PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 24

Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:10am EST

Jan 24 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Apple Inc recorded a flat profit despite selling 18 million more iPhones and iPads as it spent heavily to roll out new products to fend off intensifying competition. ()

* The U.S. House of Representatives defused one potential debt crisis Wednesday, while a top Republican set the stage for a far broader debate over whether it is possible to actually balance the U.S. budget in coming years. ()

* A government informant has implicated a prominent former trader at SAC Capital Advisors, telling federal investigators the two swapped confidential stock tips for years, according to people briefed on the matter. ()

* NYSE Euronext has no intention of selling its European unit to a rival following a planned takeover by IntercontinentalExchange Inc, according to NYSE Euronext's chief executive. ()

* The value of Goldman Sachs Group Inc's investment portfolio doubled last year. Bond underwriting hit a five-year high. The firm's workforce shrank and remaining employees were paid a smaller chunk of overall revenue. ()

* General Dynamics Corp swung to a fourth-quarter loss, posting a $2 billion write-down in its information-technology business that Chief Executive Phebe Novakovic called a "reset". ()

* McDonald's Corp's fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations, reversing two quarters of misses, but the world's largest restaurant chain said it expects tough times ahead. ()

* Netflix Inc capped a turbulent year by posting a surprise fourth-quarter profit and adding more Internet subscribers than expected, news that sent its stock rocketing about 35 percent in after-hours trading. ()

* As Novartis AG Chairman Daniel Vasella steps down from the company he helped build over 25 years, he leaves behind one of the health-care industry's most admired firms - but also some shareholder resentment and big questions about Novartis's future. ()

* Loretta Fredy Bush, the high-profile founder of China's Xinhua Finance Ltd who was later indicted over an alleged $50 million fraud, has agreed to a plea deal and appears poised to plead guilty to a reduced charge. ()

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