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RealTime IT News

Ma Bell Returns

What's the point of buying one of the biggest brand names in U.S. business history if you're not going to use it?

That seems to be the thinking of the former SBC Communications, which adopted the AT&T name after the companies' merger closed two weeks ago. The company completed the name transition Thursday when it dropped the ticker symbol "SBC" for "T," the symbol AT&T had traded under since 1930. The move also marks the return of Big T to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, where it resided for 74 years until Ma Bell was dropped from the index in April 2004.

Single-ticker symbols were historically assigned to the most widely traded companies to minimize tape delays, and thus carried prestige. For decades, "T" has been one of the best-known symbols on Wall Street.

"The decision to adopt the 'T' ticker symbol reflects both the rich heritage of the combined enterprise as well as its commitment to lead the next major shift in communications technology — the transformation to integrated solutions based on Internet Protocol," the company said in a statement.

The new AT&T will discuss its operational plans at a Jan. 31 investor conference.

Stocks surged Thursday on economic reports that showed tame inflation data, as traders shook off mixed retail sales reports and the first European Central Bank interest rate hike in more than five years.

The Nasdaq soared 34 to 2267, the S&P 500 gained 15 to 1264, and the Dow surged 106 to 10,912. Volume rose to 2.61 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.09 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 25-7 on the NYSE, and 21-9 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 77% on the NYSE, and 83% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 218-73 on the NYSE, and 204-45 on the Nasdaq.

Research in Motion rose 6% after the U.S. Patent Office rejected one of the five patents involved in the company's long-running dispute with NTP.

Nokia rose 3% on an optimistic forecast.

Lamson and Sessions soared 20% after raising guidance, while MTC fell 13% on its outlook.

Synopsis rose on its results, while Convera fell on its earnings report.