March 14, 2012 / 6:43 AM / 5 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 14

March 14 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* The Federal Reserve cleared the way for many large banks to raise dividends and buy back shares as it released the results of its latest round of "stress tests."

* More Asian governments are pressing businesses to hike wages as a way to prevent outbreaks of labor unrest, raising the specter of higher manufacturing costs for global companies -- and the products they sell worldwide.

* A panel at Calpers voted to lower a crucial investment target at the nation's largest pension fund, a step that could lead to higher retirement plan costs or more job cuts in cities and counties across California.

* Beijing's tough defense of its rare-earths export quotas is expected to escalate trade disputes over the minerals and spur mining investments elsewhere, though China's dominance is likely to continue.

* On Tuesday, Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc said it would stop printing its namesake books, a sign of how readers in recent years have abandoned printed reference volumes for websites such as Wikipedia and Google.

* U.S. regulators sued three firms and fined a unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc over alleged missteps in the oversight and handling of customer accounts, an issue that has been the subject of intense scrutiny since the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd last fall.

* Dell Inc said it would buy tech-security company SonicWall Inc, the computer maker's latest effort to expand beyond its traditional hardware businesses.

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