Tech stocks dug themselves out of the red on Monday, only to slip again by midafternoon. The Nasdaq lost 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1548 in recent trading. Verizon ( VRZN) shares soared after it matched Wall Street's third-quarter profit estimate, helped by gains in its wireless segments that have offset softness from its wireline business. The stock was up 12.7% to $28.27. Shares of Juniper Networks ( JNPR) were up 6.6% to $17.59 after Oppenheimer upgraded the stock to outperform from perform. The stock had tumbled last week after the networking equipment maker offered a cautious outlook for the rest of the year. ASML ( ASML) shares were climbing 3.1% to $16.16 after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to buy from neutral. The firm said the company has strong positioning against its competitors and that the semiconductor equipment maker's business model has improved since the last downturn. German software maker SAP ( SAP) saw its shares fall ahead of its earnings on Tuesday. The stock was down 5% to $30.94. The company had pre-announced weak results earlier this month, with CEO Henning Kagermann issuing a statement noting "a very sudden and unexpected drop in business activity at the end of the quarter." Shares of rural telephone company CenturyTel ( CTL) plunged 11.4% to $26.14 after it agreed to acquire Embarq ( EQ) for $11.6 billion in stock and the assumption of debt. Under the deal's terms, each share of Embarq would be exchanged for 1.37 shares of CenturyTel -- a 36% premium over Friday's closing price. The deal also assumes $5.8 billion in debt.
Embarq's shares were up 6% to $31.51 in afternoon trading.