Dec 5 The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an inquiry into a $10 million sale of stock by Big Lots Inc Chief Executive Steven Fishman before the company announced news that sank its stock, a person familiar with the inquiry said. ()
* Conservatives on Tuesday took aim at House Speaker John Boehner's deficit-reduction proposal in the fiscal cliff talks, a dispute that was aggravated by Boehner's decision to remove some conservatives from prized committees. ()
* Netflix Inc signaled that it is ready to rumble with traditional pay-TV channels such as HBO and Showtime. The Internet video company outbid Liberty Media Corp's Starz for the exclusive right to show Walt Disney Co movies about eight months after they hit theaters, establishing Netflix as a legitimate competitor to premium cable-TV channels by offering additional popular content for its Internet video streaming service. ()
* HSBC Holdings Plc said on Wednesday it is selling its entire stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co to Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group for 72.74 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$9.39 billion). ()
* Samsung Electronics Co on Wednesday promoted the grandson of the company's founder to the position of vice chairman, a widely expected move that puts Jay Lee a step closer to eventually heading the electronics firm. ()
* Computer-chip giant Intel Corp is borrowing $6 billion in part to buy back stock, as U.S. companies continue to make use of forgiving debt markets to make bigger payouts to their shareholders. ()
* Detroit auto makers are piling up big stocks of passenger cars at dealers despite brisk new-vehicle sales in the U.S. - a problem that executives vowed to avoid since their painful downturn three years ago. ()