PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 7

Fri Feb 7, 2014 1:41am EST

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Feb 7 (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.

* Apple Inc has bought back $14 billion of its shares in the two weeks since reporting financial results that disappointed Wall Street, Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an interview. ()

* Sony Corp moved to deal with its two most troubled electronics units, saying it will eliminate 5,000 jobs in the company's television and personal computer businesses while splitting off its TV division into a separate subsidiary.

* High-frequency traders have been paying to get direct access to market-moving news releases, a practice that can give firms the ability to trade fractions of a second ahead of less fleet-footed investors. ()

* Investors swapped out of U.S. equity funds and into bonds at the fastest clip on record last week, according to Lipper Inc, as they grasped for safety while the stock market swooned.

* The Pentagon has dropped a plan to retire one of its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, USS George Washington, after the White House intervened to head off a brewing political fight. ()

* House Speaker John Boehner squashed growing expectations that Congress would rewrite immigration laws this year-dealing a setback to the White House, a group of U.S. businesses and a bloc of fellow Republicans seeking to improve their party's chances with Hispanic voters. ()

* Greenbrier Co Inc, the nation's second-largest maker of railcars, said the industry needs to move faster to make tank cars more crash-resistant, and will begin offering to retrofit older tanker cars that carry potentially explosive crude oil. ()

* Expedia Inc posted a bigger-than-expected jump in fourth-quarter revenue as the online travel agent reported growth in bookings, as well as early success in its partnership with Travelocity. ()

* Twitter Inc shares fell 24 percent Thursday, erasing about $8.7 billion in market value, on concerns about the messaging services' sluggish user growth. ()

* The hackers that carried out the massive data breach at Target Corp appear to have gained access via a refrigeration contractor in Pittsburgh that connected to the retailer's systems to do electronic billing. ()

* LinkedIn Corp reported solid growth in its core business selling to corporate recruiters, but disappointed investors by projecting revenue lower than analysts' expectations for the current quarter. The company's shares fell 8% in after-hours trading. ()

* General Motors Co reported a 13 percent decline in its fourth-quarter profit as strength in North America and China failed to offset declines elsewhere, with currency problems and costs related to plant closings eroding profitability. ()

* Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc on Thursday booked a raft of new charges against work on its commercial and business aircraft that analysts said raised concerns about the ability of jet maker Boeing Co to maintain momentum in reducing costs on its flagship 787 program. ()

* Aetna Inc said it expects to lose money on its business in the health-law marketplaces this year, with the demographics of enrollees skewing slightly more than expected toward people likely to rack up higher costs. ()

* International Business Machines Corp is exploring the sale of its semiconductor manufacturing operations, said a person familiar with the matter. ()

* The Swedish company behind the Truecaller phone-number identification app has attracted a large equity injection from Silicon Valley investor Sequoia Capital in a funding round that values the still-unprofitable company at $80 million. ()

* Alcatel-Lucent SA swung to a fourth-quarter profit and said it is in exclusive talks to sell a majority stake in its office-phone business to a Chinese state-owned investment company. ()

* Some foreign airlines are restricting ticket sales in Venezuela because of worries that the government's currency moves last month could reduce the value of the billions of dollars they hold in the country by as much as 45 percent. ()

* 21st Century Fox lowered profit guidance for its fiscal year ending in June as higher expenses related to TV channel launches, the weaker performance of singing-competition show "X Factor" and poor results at its film unit took a toll on earnings in the December quarter. ()

* Activision Blizzard Inc shares surged on Thursday on better-than-expected earnings and a turnaround in subscribers for one of its most important videogames, "Warcraft." ()

* News Corp's revenue fell 4 percent in its fiscal second quarter as a drop in advertising and subscription revenue at the news and information business offset growth at its other businesses. ()

* BHP Billiton Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp will cut around 230 jobs from a mine in Australia's Queensland state, highlighting the challenges facing coal producers here as prices stagnate near multiyear lows. ()

* Harsh weather chilled sales for many retailers in January, when stores were trying to clear excess inventory following the holidays. Gap Inc, L Brands Inc and Costco Wholesale Corp managed to buck the negative trend, buoying the overall result. ()

* AOL Inc's chief executive angered employees Thursday when he said that care for two staffers' "distressed babies" in 2012 cost the company about $1 million each, expenses that helped drive up AOL's overall benefits costs and forced management to make difficult decisions. ()

* A continuing spill of coal ash into the Dan river from a man-made pond adjacent to a power plant in North Carolina is renewing questions about the safety of the hundreds of U.S. sites storing the byproduct of energy generation. ()

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