AT&T Inc. (T), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Telecoms Hold Back the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI)

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Although we don’t believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes — just in case they’re material to our investing thesis.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI)

Investors are approaching the day cautiously, prompting only small gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) through the early afternoon. As of 2:15 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) has picked up 15 points, with blue-chip member stocks split between risers and fallers. Most Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI) stocks aren’t moving too dramatically, but the index’s two telecom giants are leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:^DJI)’s laggards. Let’s catch up on all the stock action you need to know about.

Telecoms fight for position

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is stuck at the bottom of the blue-chip index today, with shares down 1.3% after sources attributed by Reuters said the company is interested in buying a potentially significant stake in Italy’s leading telecom firm, Telecom Italia. While AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has declined to comment in the matter, if the rumor proves reality, it could be a significant step toward expansion for America’s second-largest wireless carrier.

Telecom Italia is burdened with debt, however, so it’s not a clear-cut victory for investors if AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) moves in on the buy. The roughly $38 billion in debt Telecom Italia had at the end of June far surpassed the company’s market capitalization, and ratings companies have already mulled downgrading the firm’s debt to junk status.

For AT&T however, it’s a potential way to keep up with competitor Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), America’s leading wireless company. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) made big waves recently when it announced a massive deal to purchase Vodafone‘s share of Verizon Wireless. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)’s shares are also down moderately today as the company moves to seal financing for the $130 billion deal. It’s a pricey deal, but considering the growth of the wireless market — growth that Verizon thinks still has room to run in the U.S. — it might be enough to cement Verizon’s status as the above-and-beyond leader in America’s wireless battle.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) is one of two big banks in the process of securing financing for Verizon, and the bank’s stock is up 0.7% so far today on investor optimism. But JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM)’s in the news today for another reason: The company announced today that it will stop accepting applications for student loans.

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