Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Shares Slide on Awful Day for Wall Street

U.S. telecommunications carriers suffered losses on Wall Street Monday amid growing panic after Standard & Poors downgraded the credit rating of the U.S. government.

The stock price at Sprint Nextel dipped to a 52-week low ($3.11), closing at $3.13 on the New York Stock Exchange as 96.1 million shares changed hands. Sprints shares are down 59 cents, or 15.86 percent, from Friday. The stock was trading at a 52-week high of $6.45 only a few months ago (June 2, 2011).

Shares of AT&T and Verizon also took a hit.

AT&Ts stock price was down $1.23 or 4.25 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $27.70. About 71.9 million AT&T shares were traded.

Verizon, which is dealing with a strike, didnt fare well either: Its shares fell $1.93 or $5.51, closing at $33.12 on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

Over the last 52 weeks, shares of Verizon have ranged between a high of $31.94 (May 3, 2011) and a low of $26.20 (Aug. 24, 2010).

U.S. telecom stocks suffered as investors continued to fret over the growing global financial crisis and news that S&P had downgraded the credit rating of the U.S. government.

The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics,” S&P stated in a report on Aug. 5. More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.”

Some other U.S. telecom providers suffering losses today in the stock market included tw telecom ($1.45 or 8.29 percent), CenturyLink ($1.90 or 5.64 percent), Global Crossing ($3.93 or 12.83 percent) and Level 3 Communications (25 cents or 12.82 percent).

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