PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Oct 2

Reuters

Oct 2 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in theWall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories anddoes not vouch for their accuracy.

* Lawmakers and the White House dug in for a long fight asthe federal government shutdown showed no signs of breaking,increasing the likelihood it will become entangled in an evenlarger battle over the Treasury's ability to pay its bills.()

* The idling of the federal government moved from themomentous to the mundane on Tuesday, as thousands of workerspacked up their belongings and headed home. ()

* The health-insurance marketplaces at the center ofPresident Barack Obama's health law saw a surge of consumerinterest Tuesday that surprised even many of the law's backers.But the debut proved patchy, with few applicants actually ableto buy coverage on clogged websites that were bedeviled withtechnological problems. ()

* Merck said it plans to slash its 81,000-strongworkforce by 20 percent over the next two years, a stark show ofthe diminishing research-and-development capabilities of some ofAmerica's biggest health companies. ()

* New York's top prosecutor plans to announce on Wednesdayboth an agreement with Bank of America and a lawsuitagainst Wells Fargo over alleged violations of amortgage settlement reached last year. ()

* The U.S. boom in natural-gas production is luringinvestment from foreign manufacturers eager to tap a cheap,abundant supply of fuel and feedstocks. ()

* New troubles are piling up for U.S. banks as they prepareto release third-quarter earnings results amid warnings of weaktrading revenue, a sharp decline in mortgage refinancing andrising legal costs. ()

* Brazilian commodity magnate Eike Batista's oil firm OGX missed a crucial bond payment Tuesday, setting up oneof the biggest defaults in the history of Latin America. ()

* Activist investor Carl Icahn said he pressed Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook to more than double thecompany's stock buyback program to $150 billion during a dinnermeeting at his apartment. ()

* The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took no action on anappeal by the government of Argentina in a closely watchedsovereign debt case. The high court added eight new cases to itsdocket Tuesday but made no mention of Argentina's appeal. Thecourt could indicate as soon as next Monday what it plans to dowith the case. ()

* Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader FabriceTourre is seeking to reverse a federal jury's decision thatfound him liable for defrauding investors in a mortgage-linkeddeal that soured during the financial crisis. ()

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