AT&T leads telecom stocks higher ahead of Time Warner ruling

AT&T leads telecom stocks higher ahead of Time Warner ruling

** S&P 500 telecom sector higher, led by AT&T Inc , a day ahead of court decision on whether or not it can go through with its proposed purchase of Time Warner

** AT&T last up 1.4 pct at US$34.31. Trading volume 0.7 x 10-DMA. Time Warner shares last up 0.8 pct at US$96.15

** A federal judge will decide Tuesday if telecom operator AT&T, which also owns satellite TV service DirecTV, can go ahead with an US$85 bln deal to buy Time Warner, home to CNN and March Madness basketball

** "There's so much anticipation of tomorrow's verdict that its hard not to assign the move to anticipation of Judge Leon's decision. The market seems to be assigning 80/20 odds to an AT&T win. I'm more skeptical. I think its closer to 50/50," said Craig Moffett, senior analyst at MoffettNathanson

** If the deal is approved it likely raises the chances that a proposed merger of the third and fourth biggest U.S. wireless service providers Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US will succeed in passing regulators, according to Moffett

** Sprint last up 0.7 pct, T-Mobile US up 0.1 pct

** Among other telecom index stocks on Mon, Verizon Communications up 0.7 pct, while CenturyLink gained 0.6 pct

** YTD, telecom sector down 8.4 pct vs S&P 500 4.3 pct rise

Source: Reuters