June 10 - Summary: Stocks changed little as investors weigh Standard & Poor's upgrade of U.S. debt against lingering concerns about future Federal Reserve policy; Apple unveils iTunes Radio; Deutsche Telekom and Softbank in talks over T-Mobile in case Sprint deal falls through -sources. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Worries about the Fed pulling off its economic band-aid continue to linger - fueling volatility - but nowhere as intense as in recent weeks. That left the Dow and the S&P 500 little changed, but the Nasdaq put together its first three-day rally since mid-May. Limiting the downside: America's improving fiscal situation in the eyes of Standard and Poor's. The ratings agency lifted its debt rating on the U.S. to stable from negative. S&P is less concerned about America's credit worthiness due to Washington's attempts to curtail spending, while at the same time more cash is rolling into the Treasury. That, however, gives bond investors one less thing to worry about. And so, Treasuries sold off with yields on the 30-year bond touching a 14-month high. Apple finally unwrapped details of a much speculated streaming music service. Apple iTunes radio will roll-out in the U.S. first and will be free with ads. There is an ad-free version for subscribers of Apple Match, a cloud-based library that costs $25 a year. The initial response - investors tuned out - with shares of Apple turning lower, but shares of Pandora, the leading streaming music player, rallying more than two percent. Meanwhile, McDonald's is scoring early gains with tweaks to its menu. It's expanding the hours when breakfast sandwiches are available, as well as serving egg white items. Sales at global restaurants opened more than a year - up a much better-than-anticipated 2.6 percent in May after falling the month before. One other corporate story to note - the guy who revealed clandestine U.S. surveillance tactics worked as a contractor for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Shares of the publicly traded company slid about 2.6 percent on concerns how this situation will impact Booz's lucrative government contracts. In European headlines, Deutsche Telekom is in talks with Japan's Softbank about a possible deal for T-Mobile if Softbank loses its bid for Sprint Nextel, according to three sources. Deutsche Telekom holds a 74 percent in the U.S. wireless unit. None of the companies mentioned wanted to comment. Looking now at the final numbers: stocks were higher in Germany, but down slightly in France and the U.K.