The Justice Department says it found nothing anticompetitive about the combination of two of the nation's largest telcos.
Now, the next regulatory clearance for the deal is expected to come tomorrow from the Federal Communications Commission.
The blessings from regulators come despite a request by lawmakers to delay the moves.
Last month, Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and John Conyers, D-Mich. -- the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee -- asked antitrust regulators to wait on a merger approval until a federal judge has cleared two prior telco mergers.
A federal district court judge in Washington is still hearing arguments on whether the mergers between SBC and AT&T, as well as
and MCI are in the public interest.
The lack of complications and onerous conditions attached to the Justice Department's approval, plus
early signs that the FCC wasn't looking to make any demands, was seen as a good sign by some Wall Streeters.
"We continue to view the merger completion and likely upward revision of merger synergy estimates as potential catalysts for AT&T," says Prudential Equity Group analysts Rick Klugman, in a note Wednesday. Klugman rates the two stocks a buy.
AT&T shares fell a nickel to $32.72, and BellSouth rose 5 cents to $43.25. Verizon, for its part, rose 32 cents to $36.86.