US STOCKS-Telecoms lift Wall St but gains limited


 * Telecom shares rise on analysts' upgrades
 * Consumer spending up more than expected in February
 * Japan plant radiation, Libya violence add to volatility
 * Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 (Updates to afternoon)
 By Chuck Mikolajczak
 NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on
Monday, lifted by strength in the telecommunications sector
and an eighth straight monthly rise in consumer spending, but
concerns about overseas turmoil kept gains in check.
 Japan's nuclear disaster and civil unrest in the Middle
East and North Africa have increased market volatility in
recent weeks, making investors cautious as they watch
headlines closely for trading cues.
 The benchmark S&P 500 has recaptured losses in the wake of
the earthquake in Japan, making it more difficult for
investors to find value in stocks.
 "If there really is an impact from the earthquake, it is
hard to say it's discounted anymore," said Stephen Massocca,
managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.
 "You've got earnings season coming up so unless there is a
dramatic development in Japan or in the Middle East, that is
going to be the next big story that has an impact on the
market."
 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]
 The S&P telecom index (.GSPL: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.6 percent after
Robert W. Baird upgraded a number of companies, including Dow
components AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Verizon Communications Inc
(VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), saying after AT&T's deal to buy T-Mobile USA was
completed, both AT&T and Verizon should benefit from one less
competitor. [ID:nL3E7ES19O]
 AT&T rose 2.2 percent to $29.47. Verizon gained 1.2
percent to $37.73.
 The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 21.26
points, or 0.17 percent, to 12,241.85. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.87 points, or 0.14 percent, to
1,315.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) added 1.31
points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,744.37.
 Eastman Kodak Co (EK.N: Quote, Profile, Research), up 9.1 percent at $3.71, was the
second-most active stock on the New York Stock Exchange after
a U.S. trade panel in the United States last week agreed to
review a case that could bring the struggling photography
company hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.
 The case stems from a patent claim against Apple Inc
(AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Research in Motion Ltd (RIM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research)(RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research). Apple
shares added 0.5 percent to $353.36. But U.S.-listed shares of
Research in Motion shed 0.9 percent to $56.40.
[ID:nN25292900]
 Plutonium found in soil around the crippled Fukushima
nuclear complex added to mounting problems in Japan's battle
to contain the world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
[ID:nL3E7ES2ND] [ID:nTOPJP]
 Rebels advanced toward the birthplace of Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi on Monday, firing mortars and heavy machine
guns in sporadic clashes with loyalist forces. [ID:nLDE72R009]
[ID:nTOPMEAST]
 (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)








US STOCKS-Telecoms lift Wall St but gains limited