PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 21

Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:28am EST

Jan 21 (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.

* The Fed is on track to trim its bond-buying program for the second time in six weeks as a lackluster December jobs report failed to diminish the central bank's expectations for solid U.S. economic growth this year. ()

* President Barack Obama's sagging approval ratings and the rocky health-law rollout are expanding the map of competitive Senate races this year, giving Republicans new hope of capturing seats in states that the president carried in 2012. ()

* China's growth prospects this year depend on the gains it can chalk up from exports and the pains that come from trying to remake the world's No. 2 economy. China is one of the most powerful engines of global growth, but one that no longer operates at full throttle. On Monday, Beijing reported that its gross domestic product last year grew 7.7 percent, matching 2012's rate. China economists generally forecast economic growth of somewhere between 7 percent and 8 percent this year, too. ()

* Iran would have to remove 15,000 centrifuge machines and take other drastic measures to forge a comprehensive nuclear agreement with the West, according to a report by a U.S. think tank that drew from conversations with senior U.S. officials. ()

* Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive imam whose crumbling alliance with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened the country's stability, lashed out Monday at his one-time partner, the strongest sign yet of an irreparable split. ()

* KKR & Co and Affinity Equity Partners have agreed to sell South Korea's Oriental Brewery back to Anheuser-Busch InBev for $5.8 billion in the largest deal on record allowing a private equity firm to exit from an Asian investment.

* PSA Peugeot Citro├źn is moving closer to a 3 billion euros ($4.06 billion) transformative deal with a Chinese partner and the French government that will hinge on whether private investors have appetite for shares in an unprofitable and cash-bleeding car maker exposed to cutthroat competition in Europe. ()

* Deutsche Bank AG's surprise 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) fourth-quarter loss suggests that a new phase of banking cleanups is getting under way in Europe, a likely precursor to other European lenders absorbing financial hits. ()

* Royal Dutch Shell is selling its stake in an Australian natural gas project, the oil company's first disposal since it issued a rare profit warning last week. Shell said it has agreed to sell its 8 percent equity interest in the Wheatstone-Iago gas field, which is operated by U.S.-based Chevron Corp, and a 6.4 percent interest in the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia for $1.14 billion in cash to state-owned Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co. ()

* China's Lenovo Group Ltd is in talks to buy International Business Machines Corp.'s low-end server business, a person familiar with the matter said, reviving negotiations that fell apart last year over valuation. ()

* A cross-border buyout that once valued Cooper Tire & Rubber Co at $2.5 billion has now devolved into a court battle over as little as a few hundred million dollars. Cooper officially terminated its sale to India's Apollo Tyres Ltd Monday after months of delay in which Apollo sought to cut the $35 per share price. ()

* Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is calling to adopt chip-based credit-card technology to thwart theft. But the debate was different a decade ago, when Target pulled the plug on a $40 million program that did just that. ()

* Investors will be paying close attention to Samsung Electronics Co's earnings this week for any signs of weakness in the smartphone market and to see whether the company's streak of record results is coming to an end. ()

* The fiery tit-for-tat that erupted in court last week between Apple Inc and a court-appointed lawyer overseeing the company's e-book pricing shined a light on something that has annoyed corporations for years: compliance monitors. ()

* Needing to generate revenue, Twitter is moving to capitalize on the fact that its user base is more racially diverse than U.S. Internet users as a whole. ()

* Senior Argentine officials met with representatives of the Paris Club on Monday in a bid to jump start negotiations to settle Argentina's long-standing debt with the club of creditor nations. ()

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