Sprint

was up 6.8% in early afternoon after

The Washington Post

reported that

BellSouth

(BLS)

is pursuing a purchase of the long-distance company. BellSouth was down 2.5%.

The

Post

also said

SBC Communications

(SBC)

has held discussions about buying

WorldCom

(WCOM)

, although there have been no talks in recent weeks. SBC was up 0.8% and WorldCom was up 8.8%.