November 17, 2014 / 6:21 AM / 5 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Nov 17

Nov 17 (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.

* A sales tax increase pushed Japan's economy into a recession in the third quarter, setting the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone a second increase in the sales tax. (

* Bank of North Dakota, the United State's state-owned bank which has one branch and no automated teller, is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc, has a better credit rating than JPMorgan Chase & Co and has not seen profit growth drop since 2003. The bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing. (

* Sony Corp investors could get a look in the coming week at whether the hard-nosed approach of finance chief Kenichiro Yoshida is producing an impact on the company's outlook. Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, Yoshida and other executives are expected to talk up plans to rebuild around Sony's entertainment businesses, which include the videogame division and Hollywood studio arm. (

* Actavis Plc is nearing a deal to acquire Allergan Inc in a tie-up that would likely be the year's largest and could help shield Botox maker Allergan from a hostile suitor Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. The boards of Actavis and Allergan are expected to meet in coming days to review a cash-and-stock takeover, sources said. (

* Mutual-fund manager Michael Hasenstab has piled up big returns and catapulted Franklin Resources Inc's Templeton Global Bond Fund into the largest government-bond fund in the world from investments that sometimes align him with regimes criticized by the United States and Europe. (

* The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries knows it must cut production to lift prices. A collective move to cut output could boost prices, but it would also rob OPEC members of revenue. It is unclear how long such vulnerable OPEC economies as Venezuela and Nigeria could afford to limit production without reopening the spigots. (

* Prompted by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, government and aviation-industry officials are set to announce global standards calling for airliners to automatically report their position at least every 15 minutes, sources said. (

* While economic growth in the eurozone is flattening, money managers are keeping the faith that the European Central Bank will succeed in propping up markets and eventually the economy. (

* Standard Chartered Plc is paying the price for an aggressive push into lending to commodity-linked firms, as the bank's soured loans have jumped. A combination of increased competition from local banks and slowing growth in its core markets forced Standard Chartered to make riskier loans to sustain its fast expansion, said Chirantan Barua, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein. (

* United States Federal investigators descended on the coastal city of La Porte, Texas to probe an accident at a E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co chemical plant that left four workers dead. The plant suffered a leak of a poisonous gas called methyl mercaptan, DuPont said. (

* The decision to get the "Dumb and Dumber" gang back together helped the screwball buddy comedy opening in first place at the weekend box office with an estimated $38.1 million. That put the sequel distributed by Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures, ahead of last week's top films, "Big Hero 6" and "Interstellar". (

* Nearing the one-year anniversary of Target Corp's massive and costly data breach, the company is looking to show that it has moved on. The discounter will report its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday. The recent optimism has helped to lift Target shares to 2014 highs. (

* Republican control of Congress in 2015 could boost the Grand Old Party's efforts to make the Federal Trade Commission operate more like the Justice Department when it comes to antitrust enforcement. (

* American Airlines Group Inc and its 15,000 pilots continued to negotiate terms for a new, five-year labor agreement, with the pilots asking for big raises to compensate for the profit-sharing deal enjoyed by pilots at Delta Air Lines Inc. (

* The partners at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP voted to hire the majority of partners at Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP. The deal is expected to close by the end of November, Morgan Lewis said. (

* About 100,000 people submitted applications for health insurance on the first day of the relaunch of, the online marketplace at the heart of the United States president's health-care law, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said. (

* Apple Inc has struck a deal with China's only domestic bank card provider UnionPay, making it easier for Chinese consumers to buy its apps. The iPhone maker has been facing questions of how it will expand into payment systems in China. Apple's own payment system Apple Pay is not yet available there. ( (Compiled by Zara Mascarenhas in Bangalore)

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