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S&P is little changed on news of failed deal by Sprint, Time Warner

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed Wednesday, after U.S. equities slipped to a two-month low Tuesday, as declines in Sprint Corp. and Time Warner Inc. on failed deals offset gains in consumer-staples shares.

Sprint slid 19 percent after a deal to merge with T-Mobile U.S. Inc. collapsed. Time Warner tumbled 13 percent after Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. withdrew its unsolicited takeover bid. Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Kellogg Co. paced gains in consumer-staples shares.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 1 point to 1,920.24. The gauge erased an earlier loss after dropping below its average level for the past 100 days.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 13.87 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,443.34. About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges Wednesday, 12 percent above the three-month average.

The S&P 500 slid 1 percent Tuesday to the lowest level since May as tensions escalated over Ukraine. The benchmark gauge has lost 3.4 percent since reaching a record of 1,987.98 on July 24. It tumbled the most since June 2012 last week as companies around the globe posted disappointing results.

Stocks have also been weighted down by concerns that the improving economy may force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than expected. Data last week showed U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 4 percent annual pace in the second quarter, confirming the Fed’s view that a first-quarter contraction was transitory.

Time Warner dropped 13 percent, the most since 2008, as Murdoch’s Fox withdrew its $75 billion offer. The billionaire chairman of Fox gave up after Time Warner’s board refused to engage in talks and Fox’s stock price slid 11 percent since the offer became public. Time Warner also reported earnings that beat estimates and said it plans to buy back $5 billion of its shares.

Fox climbed 3.3 percent as it authorized a $6 billion buyback plan. The company also reported after the close of regular trading that fourth-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

Groupon Inc. slumped 13 percent. The company forecast third-quarter earnings of no more than 2 cents a share, excluding some items, compared with the average analyst estimate of 3 cents a share.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. tumbled 13 percent, the most in more than two years. The provider of outsourcing services lowered its annual revenue forecast as tech-service deals took longer to close amid weakness in certain U.S. and U.K.-based customers.

Bank of America Corp. gained 1.3 percent. The second-biggest U.S. lender raised its quarterly dividend to 5 cents a share and dropped plans to buy back stock after the Fed approved its resubmitted capital plan for 2014.

The dividend increase, from 1 cent per share, was postponed in April after the Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it made an error in its original Fed submission. The central bank said today it didn’t object to the company’s revised plan.

Molson Coors gained 5.8 percent, the most in the S&P 500.