PRESS DIGEST-New York Times business news - Aug 27

Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:36am EDT

Aug 27 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The stock market sagged on Monday after the Obama administration ratcheted up its pressure against Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was "undeniable" evidence of a large-scale chemical weapons attack in Syria last week and suggested the administration was edging closer to a military response. ()

* Hedge fund manager William Ackman moved on Monday to sell his roughly 18 percent stake in J.C. Penney Co Inc, nearly two weeks after he resigned from the board amid an unusual public battle with his fellow directors. ()

* Unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department said on Monday that it expected to lose the ability to pay all of the government's bills in mid-October. ()

* Behind the roiling conversation over whether President Obama might make Janet Yellen the first female leader of the Federal Reserve is an uncomfortable reality for the White House: the administration has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration did almost two decades ago. ()

* Activist investor Daniel Loeb disclosed on Monday that he had acquired a large stake in the auction house Sotheby's . Third Point is now one of Sotheby's biggest shareholders, with a 5.7 percent stake, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Third Point said it planned to "engage in a dialogue" with Sotheby's board. ()

* A New York state judge found JPMorgan Chase & Co liable to the Russian-American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik for breach of contract for placing risky subprime mortgage securities in an investment account he held, and ordered the bank to pay more than $50 million in damages, including interest. ()

* On Tuesday, the Australian surf wear company Billabong International Ltd reported its worst financial results ever - a net loss of A$859.5 million, or about $772 million, for the fiscal year ended June. Most of that was due to accounting charges as Billabong wrote down the value of its namesake brand to zero, compared with a carrying value of 252.1 million dollars a year earlier. ()

* Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica on Monday improved its offer for E-Plus, the German unit of KPN , winning support from KPN's biggest shareholder, America Movil. Telefonica had agreed to pay the equivalent of 8.55 billion euros ($11.44 billion) for E-Plus, up from an earlier offer of $10.8 billion. América Móvil also said it still planned to go ahead with its separate $9.6 billion cash bid for the remaining shares in KPN that it does not already own.()

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