PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 16

Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:11am EST

Dec 16 (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.

* A malfunctioning HealthCare.gov website and confusion over canceled policies have kept millions of Americans from choosing new health plans so far this fall. But with website access improving and the initial deadline to sign up for coverage looming Dec. 23, insurers are starting to blanket the airwaves and social media with glitzy ads urging consumers to buy their plans. ()

* American International Group Inc is in advanced talks to sell its jet-leasing business to AerCap Holdings for $3 billion in cash and a minority stake in the smaller, Netherlands-based company, said people with knowledge of the talks. ()

* Representatives of Amazon.com Inc workers in Germany will take their beef with the e-commerce giant to the United States on Monday, staging a protest at the retailer's Seattle headquarters in tandem with strikes planned at Amazon sites in Germany. ()

* Bond investors are showing the most confidence in corporate America since the financial crisis, underscoring expectations that the U.S. economy will keep rolling as the Federal Reserve prepares to trim monetary stimulus. Purchasers of corporate debt are demanding the smallest interest-rate premium to comparable government bonds since 2007. ()

* U.S. exchanges are near an agreement to upgrade a central piece of the country's trading infrastructure that critics say has been neglected and caused a serious market outage in August, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. ()

* After years of anemic productivity, pharmaceutical companies are launching new drugs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, including 39 last year alone. But there is a problem: selling the new drugs. ()

* Andrew Farkas's recent venture in commercial real-estate brokerage is quietly downsizing its New York office. NAI Global, a network of more than 200 brokerage firms around the world, has reduced the number of brokers in its Manhattan office from 12 to four, according to people familiar with the matter. ()

* Hollywood may leave movie-goers feeling a little too stuffed this holiday season. Twelve movies are set to open at 500 theaters or more between Dec. 12 and Dec. 25, the highest number in recent time. Over the past decade, the number of movies opening nationwide in the two weeks leading up to Christmas has averaged fewer than 10. ()

* The leadership upheaval at BlackBerry Ltd continues under interim Chief Executive John Chen, according to people familiar with the matter. The smartphone makers' executive vice president in charge of global sales, Rick Costanzo, will be leaving the company by early next year, while Chris Wormald, who was in charge of BlackBerry's mergers and acquisitions strategy, will be gone by the end of this month. ()

* Oracle Corp has had a rocky year. On Wednesday, investors will get a better read on whether it was a blip, or if the competition is starting to dent the corporate-technology giant. ()

* Corporate acquirers are no longer willing to settle for "buyer beware." In a number of recent mergers, acquirers have demanded unusually tight protection against undiscovered alleged criminal activity that could result in big fines or reputation hits down the road. ()

* The collapse of a regional Australian airline, Brindabella Airline, flying to remote mining towns has highlighted pressures facing companies that rode the wave of booming investment in resources but which have recently seen business dry up. ()

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