PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 19


Dec 19 (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.

* Ben Bernanke gave the U.S. economy a nod of approval just a month before he leaves the Federal Reserve, moving the central bank to begin winding down a bond buying program meant to boost growth with the recovery on firmer footing. ()

* A growing industry uses surveillance and data crunching technology to supply traders with non-public information about oil supplies, electric power production, retail traffic and crop yields. ()

* A jury found a senior employee of SAC Capital Advisors LP guilty of insider trading, a verdict that deals another blow to the giant hedge fund and its billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen. ()

* Target was hit by an extensive theft of its customers' credit-card data over the Black Friday weekend in what appears to be a breach of a major retailer's information security. The Secret Service is investigating. ()

* Bristol-Myers Squibb is nearing a deal to sell its stake in a diabetes partnership with AstraZeneca for more than $3 billion. ()

* Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said he will resign following calls for him to step down over a loan he received from a scandal-hit hospital-chain operator. ()

* U.S. banking regulators are considering issuing guidance to address concerns about the Volcker rule's impact on some small and midsize banks, according to people familiar with the matter. ()

* U.S. commodity regulators are stumbling at one of their primary goals: bringing transparency to the multitrillion-dollar swaps market. ()

* The value of one bitcoin plunged as much as 38 percent against the dollar Wednesday, highlighting the risks for investors in the virtual currency and merchants who accept it as payment. ()

* General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeff Immelt pledged to cut costs and boost sales at the conglomerate's industrial businesses, as the company tries to improve profits despite a smaller contribution from its giant lending arm. ()