August 1, 2014 / 4:41 AM / in 3 years

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Aug 1

Aug 1 (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.

* Israel and Hamas agreed to a three-day cease fire in the Gaza conflict with the hope of forging a more lasting peace. (

* Central Intelligence Agency officers snooped on computers used by a Senate committee investigating the CIA's interrogation program, an internal agency report has concluded; a critical finding in a bitter standoff between two government branches. (

* A tanker of oil from Texas has set sail for South Korea, the first unrestricted sale of unrefined American oil since the 1970s. How that $40-million shipment avoided the nearly four-decade ban on exporting U.S. crude is a tale involving two determined energy companies, loophole-seeking lawyers, and an unprecedented boom in American drilling that could create a glut of ultra-light oil. (

* The Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc deal that has been in talks for more than six months was lurched on Thursday when France's Iliad SA entered with a buyout offer for T-Mobile, causing a clash between the telecommunications industry's titans. (

* The calm that pervaded financial markets for months evaporated as stocks tumbled in Europe and the United States, with the Dow industrials erasing its gains for the year after suffering its worst one-day loss since February. (

* Argentina's default on $29 billion in debt brought a stock market selloff and finger pointing by the Argentine government and creditors. But investors held out hope that a resolution to the crisis could be reached. (

* Investors retreated from risky corporate debt on Thursday, sending prices tumbling and deepening fears of an end to a long rally in U.S. junk bonds. This decline reflects fresh signs that the growth in the United States is picking up in earnest, a trend that many global bond managers expect to eventually prompt a Federal Reserve interest rate increase that would likely squeeze bond returns. (

* The energy boom in the United States is reflecting a noticed side effect: American oil and gas companies are paying less in federal income taxes. Energy companies are spending billions of dollars a year to drill in shale formations across the country, sending the nation's daily oil output up by almost 50 percent in just the past few years. All that spending has made drillers take advantage of incentives in the tax code for drilling and capital expenditures, deferring billions of dollars in income tax. (

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd IPO-BABA.N is backing another California startup, announcing a $120-million investment in gaming company Kabam Inc and a partnership to publish and distribute its free-to-play mobile games. (

* Sony Corp sharply cut its forecast for smartphone sales, dealing a blow to the Japanese electronics maker's hopes for recovery. (

* The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday laid out a proposed new regulatory plan to oversee potentially thousands of laboratory developed medical tests that the agency contends can be prone to errors. ( (Compiled by Rama Venkat Raman in Bangalore; ; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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