April 23(Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* French President Nicolas Sarkozy was thrust into a fight for his political survival after lagging behind Socialist candidate François Hollande in the first round of France’s presidential poll.
* Beam Inc is expected to announce Monday a deal to buy Pinnacle vodka and another brand from White Rock Distilleries Inc for around $600 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
* A group of former officials from the old brokerage firm E.F. Hutton & Co plan to start a new boutique financial-advisory firm under the same name.
* Customers of MF Global Holdings Ltd are pushing regulators to get tougher on JPMorgan Chase about money that went missing from accounts just before the firm’s collapse.
* Wal-Mart Stores faces significant legal risks after it disclosed that it is investigating its operations in Mexico for possible violations of the U.S. law that prohibits bribery in foreign countries, legal experts said.
* Avon Products Inc, famous for sending its representatives door to door, is losing traction in the U.S., where many time-stressed consumers are increasingly buying their cosmetics on the Web. Operating profit per representative in the U.S. has plunged 75 percent over the past decade, according to an analysis by Sanford C. Bernstein.
* US Airways Group Inc’s move to garner support from three unions at AMR Corp’s American Airlines for a merger between the two companies is designed to woo American Airlines workers but stop short of saddling a combined carrier with contracts that would hobble operations.
* Despite renewed fears about the euro-zone debt crisis, recent gains in U.S. Treasurys have been modest, likely owing to increasing doubt that the Federal Reserve will provide further stimulus for the U.S. economy.