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Stock losses escalated in the final hour as an increase in Treasury yields hit defensive names in the utilities and materials sectors.
Stocks hold mixed on Thursday afternoon as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene push health care higher, while defensive names slip on a spike in Treasury yields.
Level 3 (LVLT) and CenturyLink (CTL) are reportedly in advanced merger talks.
Level 3's (LVLT) stock rating was lifted to 'overweight' at JPMorgan earlier today.