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PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - Dec 31

Dec 31 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Despite challenges that have stymied even giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, some American technology entrepreneurs are seeking to pursue India's untapped opportunities, and are ready to risk their money on start-ups.

* Banks in 16 countries are using a psychometric test to predict whether someone will pay back a loan. Originally a Harvard doctoral project, the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab's test has increasingly won the confidence of risk-averse bankers in places where, many economists believe, credit bottlenecks are severely stunting growth. A new partnership with MasterCard Inc has potential to speed the model's proliferation. ()

* Parents and advocacy groups have been using websites and social media as powerful megaphones to force titans of the food industry to reconsider the ingredients in their foods and the labeling and processing of their products. In several instances in the last year or so, major food companies and fast-food chains have shifted to coloring derived from spices or other plant-based sources, or changed or omitted certain labels from packaging. ()

* The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes in November was nearly unchanged from October, suggesting sales are stabilizing after several months of declines. ()

* Hertz Global Holding LLC, one of America's biggest car rental companies, has adopted a one-year shareholder rights plan, commonly known as "poison pill," to thwart an investor from gaining control of the board. ()

* Private equity firm Bain Capital said it had agreed to buy a majority stake in Bob's Discount Furniture, the chain of stores known for its low-tech commercials featuring its founder, Bob Kaufman. ()

* The restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc's board fired back at Sardar Biglari, the activist investor, on Monday, saying that it plans to continue business as is despite Biglari's push to put Cracker Barrel on the block.