The wedding bells that rang for MCI
on Valentine’s Day threaten to leave BellSouth
on the outside looking in.
snapping up AT&T
and Verizon bulking up with MCI, BellSouth could find itself in a tougher competitive position, and the company has so far expressed no interest in joining the merger mania that has also seen Sprint
head down the aisle together.
Concerned about BellSouth’s “precarious position,” Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company’s shares to “sell” on Monday.
While fellow Baby Bells Verizon and SBC are each acquiring telcos “with national network capabilities and sizable enterprise customer bases, BellSouth remains focused on growing through consumer-oriented wireless and broadband offerings,” S&P said. “We believe that these planned transactions leave BellSouth in a precarious position as a stand-alone entity.”
BellSouth, for its part, remains unconcerned, telling the Associated Press on Monday that “We very much like where we are. We like our exposure on the wireless and broadband side, and that’s our focus.”
Still, after today, BellSouth appears to be at a competitive disadvantage compared to its siblings. Don’t rule out a move by the company just yet.
The broader market treaded water ahead of Capitol Hill testimony later this week by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.
The Nasdaq climbed 6 to 2082, the S&P 500 added 1 to 1206, and the Dow slipped 4 to 10,791. Volume declined to 1.29 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.65 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-14 on the NYSE, and while decliners led by a few shares on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 55% on the NYSE, and 63% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 293-10 on the NYSE, and 131-33 on the Nasdaq.
After the close, Agilent
During the day, Google
managed a 3% gain despite 176.8 million shares becoming eligible for sale by insiders.
was unchanged ahead of its quarterly report on Tuesday, while HP
fell 2.5% ahead of its earnings on Wednesday.
rose 4.5% on an upgrade. The company reports its results after the close on Tuesday.
jumped 4% on a UBS upgrade.