Wireless stocks are enjoying the traditional pop after a period of pounding, rising on the heels of optimistic research on Western Wireless ( WWCA).

That stock, which fell from $2.99 on Aug. 6 to close at $1.54 Thursday, was recently soaring more than 60% to $2.51. J.P. Morgan upgraded it to buy Friday morning, saying new roaming revenue from Verizon Wireless and Cingular would offset the rate impact of a three-year deal with AT&T Wirless ( AWE).

That expectation led the analyst to predict Western Wireless wouldn't trip covenants in its lending agreements. He also raised his prediction of the company's 2002 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $350 million from $338 million and said the stock could go to $4.

Other beaten-down stocks were also rising, sending the Dow Jones Wireless Index up more than 6%. Among the biggest movers were Triton PCS ( TPC), up 7.4% to $2.60 (it was at $4.50 July 15); Airgate ( PCSA), up 12% to $1.14 (it was at $1.60 July 15); AT&T Wireless, up 10% to $4.88 (it was at $6 on July 15); and Sprint PCS ( PCS), up 4.4% to $4.21 (it was at $6.24 July 15).

Another gainer and catalyst was Nextel ( NXTL), climbing 15% to $6.97 after Standard & Poor's praised its ability to retire $733 million in debt without needing "a significant amount of liquidity." The stock popped on solid volume Thursday when the company announced an initiative to target teens in addition to its already strong business franchise.

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