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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average up following reports that the company is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD)'s 45% share of their joint venture, Verizon Wireless. Also pushing the Dow higher is good news on the U.S. economic front, with GDP being revised higher. As of 1:25 p.m. EDT the Dow is up 50 points, or 0.34%, to 14,874. The S&P 500 is up 0.45% to 1,642.
There were two U.S. economic releases today.
|New unemployment claims||Aug. 17 to Aug. 24||331,000||337,000|
|Gross domestic product||Q2||2.5%||1.7%|
Unemployment claims remain near five-year lows. New unemployment claims dropped by 6,000 to 331,000 last week, in line with analyst expectations of 330,000. The four-week moving average rose by 750, slightly off its five-year low, to 331,250.
The key report here, though, is the GDP revision. The advance estimate of GDP was 1.7% growth for the second quarter. Earlier this month, the trade deficit for June was reported, coming in far below expectations -- a positive for the economy. Analysts began revising their GDP estimates upward, and the consensus forecast rose to 2.3% growth. Today the Department of Commerce reported a revised figure of 2.5% growth. The better-than-expected GDP report gives credence to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's view that the U.S. economy is doing better and raises the likelihood that the Fed will begin winding down its long-term asset purchases this year. U.S. Treasury notes sold off slightly on the news.
Today's Dow leader Today's Dow leader is Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), up 3.2%. Today The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone have rekindled discussions of Verizon buying out Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for somewhere between $100 billion and $130 billion. Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) shares have responded well to the news, rising 7.6%. Given Verizon Wireless' high price tag, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) would likely have to raise debt on top of employing some combination of stock and cash.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has been trying to buy out Vodafone's stake for a few years now, but the sticking points have always been the price and Vodafone's reluctance to pay a likely $10 billion tax on the sale. According to the article in the Journal, Verizon is hoping to take advantage of low interest rates before they go any higher. Shareholders should carefully analyze any deal that goes through, as Verizon will likely have a much greater debt load than it does already.
The article Verizon's Potential Deal Leads the Dow Higher originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Dan Dzombak.
Dan Dzombak owns shares of Vodafone. The Motley Fool recommends Vodafone.
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