U.S. stocks rise after Bernanke says growth poised to accelerate

Phone Stocks

Phone companies dropped the most in the S&P 500, losing 0.3% as a group. Verizon Communications Inc. slid 0.9% to $48.54 for the biggest retreat in the Dow.

T-Mobile US Inc. lost 3.3% to $32.26. AT&T Inc. is targeting customers of smaller rival T-Mobile by offering customers of the fourth largest U.S. carrier as much as $450 in credits for devices and services for each line they switch. AT&T fell 0.3% to $34.84.

Sprint fell 4.1% to $9.98 after Stifel downgraded the company. The brokerage said Sprint would struggle to obtain regulatory approval for a merger with T-Mobile US.

General Motors declined 3.3% to $39.61. The carmaker reported December sales plunged 6.3% while analysts estimated on average sales would rise.

Car Sales

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Automobiles & Components Index fell 0.6% as the biggest automakers in the U.S. market reported December sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates. Cold weather may have kept buyers from dealer lots at the end of the industry’s best year since 2007.

Micron Technology Inc. dropped 3% to $21.02 for a second day of losses. RBC Capital Markets LLC analyst Doug Freedman downgraded the chipmaker to sector perform from outperform, saying Micron’s valuation does not take risks enough into account. The stock rose 243% last year, the second- best performance in the S&P 500, and trades at 86 times reported earnings.

Exelon Corp. declined 1.9% to $26.66. Citigroup Inc. gave the shares a sell rating, while Bank of America Corp. downgraded them to underperform, which is similar to a sell rating, from neutral.

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