NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Wall Street was dialing up telecommunications companies of all shapes and sizes Monday, vaulting them to the top of the list of market movers.
Cell phone maker L.M. Ericsson (ERICY) plunged 5-3/16, or more than 15 percent, to 28-1/2, after reporting strong earnings growth but saying the Asian economic crisis is taking a bite out of its bottom line. The report came just days after rival Nokia (NOK.A) surged on signs it may be gobbling up market share.
GTE (GTE) was down 7/8 to 57-1/16 and Bell Atlantic (BEL) climbed a meager 1/4 to 45-7/16 despite reports the phone companies are in talks to merge in a deal estimated to be worth at least $52.5 billion.
Meanwhile, the American depositary receipts of British Telecom (BTY) soared 8-1/16 to 145-13/16 while AT&T (T) was unchanged at 59-15/16 after the two phone giants said they will form a joint venture to serve business customers worldwide.
It was mainly their rivals, namely merger partners WorldCom (WCOM) and MCI Communications (MCIC) that were moving Monday in the wake of the deals. WorldCom was down 2-5/8 to 53-14 while MCI was off 2-13/16 to 65-1/16.
The Internet sector was being pummeled Monday as the Nasdaq Composite overall opened the day in a downbeat mood.
America Online (AOL) was off 7-11/16 to 111-1/2. Internet service providers all were lower, with Yahoo! (YHOO) falling 4-5/8 to 177-1/2, Lycos (LCOS) off 4-3/4 to 62-1/2, Excite (XCIT) down 3-1/8 to 41-1/2, and Infoseek (SEEK) losing 2 to 27.
The Internet-based news service CNET (CNWK) slumped 5-3/4 to 59, and Internet search engine Inktomi (INKT) was off 3-1/2 to 54.
Broadcast.com (BCST), which diffuses video and audio via the Web, was down 3-1/8 to 58-3/8, and rival RealNetworks (RNWK) was off 4-1/2 to 28-3/4
The Internet-based bookseller Amazon.com (AMZN) fell 6 to 118-1/4, while Mindspring Enterprises (MSPG), the high-flying Internet service provider, was off 1-1/2 at 48.