PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - July 31

July 31 Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:43am EDT

July 31 (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.

* Talks aimed at a last-minute settlement between Argentina and holdout creditors collapsed late Wednesday, and a court-appointed mediator said the country would "imminently" be in default. (on.wsj.com/1oNORjb)

* Johnson & Johnson, which already suspended sales of a surgical tool that has been blamed for spreading a dangerous cancer in women, plans to tell doctors world-wide to return any devices now on shelves. (on.wsj.com/1uIVJTz)

* Venezuela, strapped for cash at home and staring down costly litigation overseas, is considering a deal for its U.S.-based refinery company Citgo Petroleum Corp as well as a stake in a refinery run with Exxon Mobil Corp, according to a Citgo document and people familiar with the matter. (on.wsj.com/WNYhRw)

* The head of Samsung's mobile division, J.K. Shin, is facing pressure as weakening phone sales propel the company toward a third straight quarter of operating-profit declines. (on.wsj.com/1ocTlux)

* Federal Reserve officials delivered a modestly more upbeat assessment of the economy Wednesday amid a second-quarter growth rebound and deepening debate inside the central bank about when to start raising interest rates. (on.wsj.com/1s5gG7z)

* A federal judge in New York ordered Bank of America Corp to pay $1.27 billion as a penalty for a case involving Countrywide Financial Corp.'s "Hustle" mortgage program. (on.wsj.com/1n4XosC)

* Private-equity firms are increasingly buying companies from each other, a shift driven in part by the relative simplicity of completing such acquisitions. (on.wsj.com/1oMWer8)

* Barclays Plc swung to a net profit in the second quarter but is under renewed pressure in the United States after authorities extended a non-prosecution agreement to cover a probe into alleged foreign-exchange manipulation. (on.wsj.com/1qpGFnc)

* E.W. Scripps Co and Journal Communications Inc struck a deal to put their newspaper operations into one company and their broadcast assets into another, following in the footsteps of rivals. The companies plan a series of spinoffs and stock-based mergers that would hand Journal Communications' local-television and radio stations to E.W. Scripps and E.W. Scripps newspapers to Journal Communications. (on.wsj.com/UMHigk)

* Puerto Rico's cash-strapped electric power authority is facing a critical deadline on Thursday to extend or make payments on lines of credit with banks or face a possible restructuring of about $9 billion in total debts. (on.wsj.com/1lZg6Cx) (Compiled by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore)