PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - April 21

April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:21am EDT

April 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.

* Some of tech's biggest names - Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, Bill Campbell - conferred and squabbled and made peace privately for years, documents in a current Silicon Valley antitrust case reveal. But they were unable to pull a new company into the club, the court documents show: Facebook declined their friend request. (r.reuters.com/jym68v)

* Federal officials are considering spending more than $1 billion of the remaining $3.6 billion of rebuilding aid on disasters other than superstorm Sandy, money that New York and New Jersey are banking on to finish repairs to thousands of homes and complete major infrastructure projects. (r.reuters.com/can68v)

* Richard Branson made headlines in 2010 when he boasted that Virgin Hotels, his new boutique hospitality brand, would shake up the industry. The first property was projected to open within 18 months, with up to two dozen more operating within seven years. Nearly four years after Branson's boast, Virgin Hotels still has not opened a single property, and has had to deal with the departure of two top executives. (r.reuters.com/nan68v)

* Business economists' outlook for near-term hiring strengthened this spring to the highest mark in nearly three years, a new survey found. The poll by the National Association for Business Economics said 43 percent of corporate economists expect hiring within their firm or industry to increase during the next six months. (r.reuters.com/gan68v)

* A case pending before a federal appeals court could help define a financial crime that has been in the spotlight for the past few years. At issue in the appeal is whether, to be considered to have traded on confidential material information, a trader must have known the tip had been illegally disclosed in exchange for a reward. (r.reuters.com/jan68v)

* A long-running battle between Apple Inc and Google Inc for mobile dominance is spreading to the most lucrative genre of apps: videogames. The two Silicon Valley giants have been wooing game developers to ensure that top-tier game titles arrive first on devices powered by their respective operating systems, people familiar with the situation said. (r.reuters.com/dym68v)

* With 10 days left in April, General Motors Co needs a strong finish in new-car and pickup-truck sales for the month to persuade Wall Street its recall problems are not keeping customers away from showrooms. (r.reuters.com/qan68v)

* Samsung Electronics Co overtook Apple Inc to become the world's biggest smartphone maker by selling hardware using Google Inc's popular Android operating system. As it tries to beef up in software, the South Korean tech giant has been hiring more engineers to develop its own platform and applications for mobile devices, wearables and other consumer electronics. (r.reuters.com/wym68v)

* Pomegranate-juice maker POM Wonderful LLC, owned by Los Angeles billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick, heads to the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking to revive a lawsuit accusing Coca-Cola Co of misleading consumers about the contents of a rival fruit beverage. Next week, POM is scheduled to appear in federal appeals court, where it is battling Federal Trade Commission findings that the company engaged in product deception of its own. (r.reuters.com/fym68v)

* Commercial real estate data firm CoStar Group Inc has forced a small competitor, New York startup CompStak Inc, to give up the names of four CompStak users who CoStar alleges violated its licensing agreement. CompStak turned over the names Friday under a ruling by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan. CoStar alleges the individuals infringed its copyrights by providing CompStak with CoStar data. (r.reuters.com/qym68v)

* BlackRock Inc, T. Rowe Price Group Inc and Fidelity Investments are among the mutual-fund firms pushing into Silicon Valley at a record pace, snapping up stakes in high-profile startup companies including Airbnb Inc, Dropbox Inc and Pinterest Inc. (r.reuters.com/hym68v) (Compiled by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore)

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