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Stocks inch higher; Molson Coors jumps on earnings

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Sprint shares plunge 19%

U.S. stocks stabilized on Wednesday after energy stocks and earnings from a major beer brewer helped the market stem its recent declines.

The stock market ended the day little changed after a sizable drop a day earlier, when Russia massed troops near its border with Ukraine.

Molson Coors was the biggest gainer in the Standard & Poor's 500 index after the company reported better-than-forecast earnings. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox rose after the company said it was dropping a bid to acquire Time Warner.

The stock market has become more volatile in recent weeks and last month slumped to its first monthly decline since January. Investors are weighing signs that the U.S. economy is strengthening against the threat of an escalating conflict in Ukraine, as well as the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising its benchmark interest rate.

“On the one hand the U.S. economy is really starting to look good, but on the other hand the markets are certainly jittery about what's going on in Ukraine and Russia,” said Anastasia Amoroso, Global Markets Strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

The S&P 500 rose a fraction of a point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,920.24. The index lost 18 points, or 1 percent, on Tuesday. The index is still up on the year, but has dropped 3.5 percent from its record close set July 24.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.87 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,443.34. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,355.05.

Molson Coors rose $3.87, or 5.8 percent, to $71.08 after the company said its second-quarter profit rose 9 percent as better pricing offset a global decline in the volume of beer sales.

As well as watching earnings, investors were looking at two merger bids that unraveled.

Sprint plunged $1.38, or 19 percent, to $5.90 after the company said it was abandoning its pursuit of T-Mobile US. Sprint would have struggled to convince regulators to approve a merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 cellphone carriers in the nation, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sprint is also replacing its longtime CEO.

Time Warner fell $10.95, or 12.9 percent, to $74.24 after Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox said it was dropping its attempt to take over the company. The deal would have combined two of the world's biggest media conglomerates. 21st Century Fox rose $1.03, or 3.3 percent, to $32.33.

U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent on Tuesday. In commodities trading, gold rose $22.90, or 1.8 percent, to $1,308.20 an ounce. Silver rose 19 cents, or 1 percent, to $20.02 an ounce.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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