RPT-US STOCKS-Markets higher as Wall St favors telecom shares

 (Repeats item without change to content)
 * Telecom shares rise on analyst upgrades
 * Consumer spending up more than expected in February
 * Japan plant radiation, Libya violence add to volatility
 * Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 (Updates with data)
 By Ryan Vlastelica
 NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on
Monday as an upgrade of telecom shares and a rise in February
consumer spending lifted sentiment, though overseas concerns
could add to volatile trading.
 Japan's nuclear disaster and civil unrest in the Middle
East and North Africa have pressured markets in recent weeks,
and while much of those losses have been recouped, investors
continue to watch headlines closely for trading cues.
 "To some degree investors have become used to the bad news
that's out there, and things continue to look good
domestically," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist
at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, Ohio.
 U.S. consumer spending rose slightly more than forecast in
February, while inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since
June 2009. For details, see [ID:nCAT005399]
 Pending U.S. home sales unexpectedly rose last month,
gaining 2.1 percent and breaking a recent trend of negative
data on the sector. Stocks were little impacted by the data.
[ID:nN28185602]
 The S&P telecom sector (.GSPL: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1 percent after Robert
W. Baird upgraded a number of telecom companies to
"outperform," including Dow components AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and
Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), saying AT&T's deal to buy
T-Mobile would help stabilize the hyper-competitive industry.
[ID:nL3E7ES19O]
 AT&T rose 1.1 percent to $29.18 while Verizon was up 0.9
percent to $37.62.
 The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 38.14
points, or 0.31 percent, at 12,258.73. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 4.10 points, or 0.31 percent, at
1,317.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 4.25
points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,747.31.
 Highly radioactive water leaked from a crippled nuclear
complex in Japan, renewing worries over the country's reactors
after an earthquake and tsunami. For details, see
[ID:nL3E7ES0WS]
 Violence spread in Libya as rebels pushed west over the
weekend to retake a series of towns from the forces of Muammar
Gaddafi. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army
in the country's main port of Latakia for the first time after
nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country.
[ID:nLDE72Q0C3]
 U.S.-listed shares of Nokia Corp (NOK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.1 percent
to $8.78 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy,"
citing the handset maker's long-term growth potential.
[ID:nLDE72R0DO]
  (Editing by Padraic Cassidy)


RPT-US STOCKS-Markets higher as Wall St favors telecom shares