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This Is the Reason the S&P 500 Treaded Water All Day

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All things considered, we should feel pretty good that the broad-based S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) actually rose by a fraction, 0.23 points (0.02%), to end at 1,416.18.

All eyes remain focused on the impending fiscal maelstrom that will combine across-the-board tax increases, with other not-so-wonderful features, like increased taxes on dividends and huge cuts in the defense sector. To curb this from happening, both political parties need to come together to forge an agreement, and according to House Speaker John Boehner, fiscal cliff discussions have gone "almost nowhere."

Without a prevailing theme moving the markets -- beyond the fiscal cliff -- individual movers within the S&P 500 were the stories of the day.

Leading the charge higher are chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) and mobile service provider MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS  ) , which rose by 8% and 5%, respectively.

AMD's boost came from an announcement to sell its 58-acre Lone Star campus for possibly up to $200 million in an attempt to raise capital. Speculation that AMD could be a possible takeover candidate also continues to swirl.

MetroPCS, on the other hand, rallied after a research analyst at Guggenheim noted that Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , which just received a huge investment by Japan's SoftBank, may make a counterbid to buy MetroPCS. If you recall, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile has already agreed to purchase MetroPCS, but Sprint, needing the spectrum and as many subscribers as it can get, may use its new found capital support from SoftBank to make a play for MetroPCS.

Lead the S&P 500 lower were dot-com registrar VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN  ) and finger-licking-good fast-food chain Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) , which shed 13% and 10%.

For VeriSign, as my Foolish colleague Brian Pacampara noted earlier today, its dot-com registry approval agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce through Nov. 30, 2018, was bittersweet. While the news is good that it can continue to operate its business, the Department of Commerce didn't grant VeriSign the right to boost prices automatically by 7% up to four times before the next approval period. Analysts are clearly concerned that there will be limited growth opportunities for VeriSign since 85% of its revenue comes from dot-com registry.

Yum! Brands, the company behind KFC and Taco Bell, dove after its upcoming outlook disappointed investors. Yum! blamed the majority of its weakness on a slowdown in China. Previously, Yum! worked to expand internationally where it now derives more than half of its revenue. Unfortunately, with China same-store sales expected to fall 4%, that's bad news for shareholders, and it could be enough of an impetus to slowdown the company's expansion efforts.

Just a hiccup
This clearly isn't Yum! Brands' finest moment, but our analysts have pegged the restaurant chain as one of the three American companies set to dominate in the emerging markets. If you'd like to find out which two other American companies they've selected, then click here for access to this latest special report.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2012, at 3:41 PM, NickD wrote:

    Selling YUM is betting on China which is a bad bet

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2012, at 4:22 AM, nivegulu wrote:

    CLWR - look at the company's spectrum value:


    "The $5 billion Clearwire will pay its license holders for its spectrum over the next three decades is a bargain compared to what its rivals are paying. (Clearwire's $20 billion valuation of its spectrum may prove to be conservative; J.H. Snider, president of policy think-tank and former research director at the New America Foundation's Wireless Future Program, puts the number closer to $50 billion.) AT&T and Verizon bought their spectrum that can be used for 4G at government auction in 2008, paying a combined $16 billion."

    and that was in 2010 before the exponential boom in mobile devices. So, what could the Enterprise Value of Clear be today? - certainly not $2 pps.

    I really don't know why S would go after crapola like PCS which has no basic intrinsic value. Everyone is going to migrate to the best network which will be proportional to spectrum capacity and the latest tech. tdd-lte. Once N.V (Network Vision) is launched, the churn from other carriers to S/SB/clwr will be parabolic obviating the need for acquiring junk like leap, pcs etc.

    So, now S is going to buy PCS, and Softbank is going to get [S + PCS] for the same $20.1B when the S/SB deal closes?! - makes a lot of (non)sense to me. Yang in the Yin(g). And by the way as a consequence, Mc... does'nt get "made whole" for the next 3(00) years (talk about "breach of fiduciary duty" towards the common class A in an (un)timely fashion) . And in the meantime CLWR could get taken out completely by someone like msft, aapl, amzn, chl, ctl, t, vz, goog,... right from under S's nose. Then N.V NeVer gets completed ever. "Makes a Whole" (pun intended) lot of sense to me now.

    Also, the DOJ is going to be very (un)happy at approving this merger of {[S+SB+PCS] + 50.8% clwr} from a monopolistic viewpoint?. Looks like Yi.. was long on PCS after the dip (after the DT deal). SEC ......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz?.

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