PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - June 4

June 4 (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.


* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is readying new guidelines for firms that advise shareholders on corporate ballots, amid complaints by corporations that such advisers have too much influence. The SEC guidance is expected to press proxy advisers to better disclose potential conflicts of interest and may also seek to reduce investor reliance on their advice when voting in company elections. (http://r.reuters.com/neb89v)


* European regulators, anxious about potentially massive U.S. penalties against BNP Paribas SA and other continental banks, are scrambling to determine whether they could pose a threat to the financial health of major lenders, according to regulatory and industry officials. (http://r.reuters.com/sab89v)


* The Manhattan district attorney's office is investigating whether a former technology executive stole computer code from a high-profile trading firm and used it to benefit a rival, according to people briefed on the probe. Code-theft cases have proliferated as global banks and sophisticated trading firms seek to protect the technology that drives their operations. (http://r.reuters.com/tab89v)


* Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co said on Wednesday it will acquire Alabama-based Protective Life Corp for $70 per share in cash, valuing the company at about $5.7 billion. The deal is the largest purchase of a foreign company by a Japanese life insurer. (http://r.reuters.com/vab89v)


* The European Central Bank is ready to act against very low inflation after months of delay, amid mounting evidence that weak prices are undermining the euro zone's recovery from its debt crisis. Tuesday's report showing inflation in the 18-country region softened to 0.5 percent last month - a four-year low - underscored the challenge facing the ECB as it prepares for a policy-setting meeting Thursday. (http://r.reuters.com/xab89v)


* Chinese search company Baidu Inc is selling a benchmark-sized U.S. dollar-denominated bond, according to a term sheet seen by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Baidu could raise about $1 billion with the bond sale, according to a person familiar with the matter, but the exact size will depend on market demand. (http://r.reuters.com/mab89v)


* Moody's lowered its baseline credit and local currency ratings for Citigroup Inc's Mexican banking unit Banamex on Tuesday. The ratings agency also warned that Banamex's stand-alone bank financial-strength rating could be next as the institution slogs through investigations into bad loans it extended to Mexican oil-services provider Oceanografia. (http://r.reuters.com/beb89v)


* Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lost a bid to combine more than a dozen state lawsuits filed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, with a U.S. federal judge ruling that the cases be dealt with separately in the state courts. (http://r.reuters.com/ceb89v)


* A federal insider-trading investigation could complicate a potentially large deal being negotiated by activist investor Carl Icahn, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is unclear which company is involved in the negotiations or whether the veteran financier would be forced to jettison the deal. (http://r.reuters.com/geb89v) (Compiled by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore)