PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 29

Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:20am EST

Jan 29 (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.

* President Barack Obama, seeking to restore confidence in his leadership, declared in his State of the Union address Tuesday that he would use executive power to try to narrow the gap between rich and poor and speed the nation's economic recovery. ()

* Turkey's central bank unveiled emergency interest-rate hikes in a move that outstripped market expectations and sent the lira roaring back, in a test case for other emerging markets battling plunging currencies. ()

* Under fire from several regulators, U.S. banks increasingly are rejecting customers involved in activities that are legal but might attract government scrutiny, according to executives, consultants and lawyers. ()

* As activist hedge funds step up their hunt for new targets, companies are bolstering their defenses. Some are fortifying their poison-pill provisions - measures that prevent an unwanted shareholder from taking a stake above a certain level. Others are speeding up their acquisition timetables to minimize interference from shareholders. And some are tightening rules for nominating board members to make it harder for activists to get board seats. ()

* Top Daimler AG executive Andreas Renschler, who ran Mercedes-Benz production and sat on the company's management board, resigned on Tuesday, saying he would have to wait too long for a shot to become chief executive. ()

* Marissa Mayer's attempt to turn around Yahoo Inc is stuck in neutral. Yahoo on Tuesday reported its revenue fell 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, minus commissions paid to partners for Web traffic, the fourth straight quarter without growth. ()

* Sprint Corp board members Masayoshi Son and Dan Hesse met recently with Justice Department officials who said they would view a Sprint acquisition of wireless rival T-Mobile US Inc with skepticism, people briefed on the conversation said. ()

* American Airlines Group Inc has identified $400 million in new annual revenue it expects to gain from changing its schedule, President Scott Kirby said Tuesday, as the carrier reported its first quarterly result since its combination with US Airways last month. ()

* Abercrombie & Fitch Co stripped Chief Executive Michael Jeffries of his title of chairman and named three new members to its board, steps aimed at improving governance at a teen retailer under pressure from weak sales and an activist investor. ()

* Google Inc wants to bring Google Glass to the masses. On Tuesday, the search giant announced a deal with vision-care company VSP Global to offer prescription lenses and subsidized frames for Google Glass, its wearable computer hooked onto eyeglass frames. ()

* Vodafone Group Plc of the UK and U.S. cable firm Liberty Global Plc have separately approached shareholders of Spanish cable operator Ono SA for a possible purchase that may be valued around 7 billion euros ($9.57 billion), a person close to the situation said Tuesday. ()

* Pfizer Inc said Tuesday that it expects to report clinical trial results early this year for an experimental breast-cancer drug and for the use of its pneumonia vaccine in the elderly, as the company shifts focus from streamlining its commercial operations to launching products. ()

* DuPont Co said its fourth-quarter earnings doubled, boosted by higher sales of seeds and insecticide in its agricultural division. The chemicals company also unveiled a new $5 billion share-repurchase plan, saying it aimed to buy back $2 billion worth this year. ()

* Volkswagen AG's new head of U.S. operations says the German auto maker is trying to make decisions faster and again train its focus on the U.S. market, a push needed for it to attain its goal of becoming the world's largest auto maker. ()

* VMware Inc warned it expects its operating margins to decline following its acquisition of AirWatch later this year. Shares slipped about 5 percent in after hours trading as the virtualization-software maker estimated that margins in its second quarter, ending in June, would decline 1.5 percent to 2 percent sequentially. ()

* Emerson Radio Corp shares jumped in after-hours trading Tuesday as the consumer-electronics distributor said it has allowed a special committee to evaluate possible strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. ()

* AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson did nothing to back investors off the company's interest in Europe, saying a company's statement Monday that it doesn't intend to bid for a major European carrier a "technical requirement." On Monday, the company filed a regulatory response with the UK Takeover Panel saying it wasn't planning to bid for Vodafone Group PLC, the company many analysts had assumed would be in AT&T's crosshairs. ()

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