PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - Jan 16

Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:10am EST

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Jan 16 (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.

* Lawmakers pressed the Federal Reserve to act more forcefully, and quickly, to limit banks' involvement in the commodities business, which has been blamed for inflating prices on everyday items like electricity and canned beverages. The Federal Reserve had said on Tuesday it was considering some new rules and issued a request for public comment. ()

* After spiraling higher for much of the last decade, the value of federal contracts fell by $58 billion, or roughly 11 percent. It was the steepest decline - in percentage and nominal terms - in at least a decade, according to an analysis of federal contract data by The New York Times. ()

* Yahoo's No. 2 executive, Henrique de Castro, has been fired by his boss, Marissa Mayer, a little more than a year after she wooed him away from Google to help her turn around the struggling Internet company. ()

* Citigroup plans to reissue all customer debit cards involved in the data breach at Target. Citi said its decision this week was not motivated by any new surge of fraud or by additional information on the breach but was a precautionary measure. ()

* The Carlyle Group has almost clinched a deal to buy Johnson & Johnson's clinical testing arm for about $4.1 billion after several weeks of negotiations, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. ()

* J.C. Penney Company said it would close 33 stores across the country and shed about 2,000 jobs. The company said in a statement that the closings and resulting job cuts would save about $65 million a year. ()

* The Federal Trade Commission said Apple Inc had agreed to better ensure parental approval of purchases from the company's App Store. In addition, Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to customers whose children made purchases without adequate parental consent. ()

* The National Labor Relations Board, in a sweeping complaint, said that Walmart illegally disciplined and fired employees after strikes and protests for better pay. ()

* In the first unionization vote ever held at an Amazon facility in the United States, a small group of technical workers at the company's warehouse in Middletown, Delaware, voted overwhelmingly against forming a union. ()

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