Shares of Overland Park-based Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 3.2 percent Monday after reports that its board rejected a purchase of MetroPCS Communications.
Sprint gained 8 cents to close at $2.55. MetroPCS fell 1.5 percent.
Sprint’s board reportedly decided the stock-and-cash transaction, which may have cost as much as $8 billion including debt, would have been too expensive given the current level of Sprint’s stock price.
Also Monday, Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless operator, said it planned to sell $2 billion in notes to help pay for refinancing, network upgrades and possible funding for its wireless partner Clearwire Corp.
Elsewhere on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average narrowly missed 13,000. Again.
A burst of selling at the closing bell drove the Dow lower after it hovered around the milestone for most of the afternoon. The average finished the day about 19 points shy of the mark.
The Dow broke through 13,000 several times last week but hasn't closed above that level since May 19, 2008, four months before the fall of Lehman Brothers investment bank and the worst of the financial crisis.
For the day, the Dow lost 1.44 points and closed at 12,981.51. The Standard Poor's 500 index rose 1.85 points to 1,367.59, a 31/2-year high. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2.41 points to close at 2,966.16. The BATS 1000 rose 14.71 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 15,561.21.
The Dow fell 100 points at the open Monday, then climbed back above 13,000 after a report that the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January to the highest in almost two years.
The National Association of Realtors said its index of sales agreements rose 2 percent last month to a reading of 97, the highest since April 2010. A reading of 100 is considered healthy.
Financial stocks led the industries gaining ground Monday. They rose 0.9 percent as a group. All nine of the other industry groups in the S 500 finished with small gains or narrow losses.
Scott Wren, senior equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, said investors had gotten ahead of themselves since October. The S 500 is up 8.8 percent this year alone.
He said he thought U.S. economic growth is likely to be a mild 2 percent this year, there are fewer people working now than there were at the end of 2007, and Europe may be in a recession.
"I don't see any reason for the market to be on some incredible run," he said.
The price of oil fell below $109 a barrel as investors booked profits after a 14 percent gain this month driven by signs of an improving U.S. economy and fears of an Iranian supply cut. Benchmark crude fell by $1.21 to end the day at $108.56 per barrel in New York.
Government figures show that growth in demand for crude oil has slowed in the United States from a year earlier, although some oil traders are betting a strengthening economy will eventually boost consumption.
"Four-dollar gas, that's not going to really shut down the economy," Wren said. "$5, $6 gas, that's a different story."
The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped 18 cents over the past two weeks, with a gallon of regular at $3.70.
The European debt crisis is also still a lingering concern. Finance ministers from the world's 20 leading economies said that they would not add money to the International Monetary Fund until the European Union puts up more money to stave off its debt crisis.
Among U.S. stocks making moves:
• Layne Christensen of Mission Woods gained more than 5 percent to close at $26.69.
• Cooper Tire Rubber Company Co. rose 13.9 percent after it said net income more than quadrupled in the fourth quarter, mostly because of a large tax-related gain.
• Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. rose 7.7 percent after a Japanese rival company filed for bankruptcy protection.
• Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. rose 0.3 percent after the investor, known as the Oracle of Omaha, said the company has a successor in mind, plus two backups. Berkshire has not named those executives.
• Netflix stock fell 2.2 percent after a downgrade by an analyst at Raymond James.
• Lowe's, the home improvement chain, rose 0.7 percent after reporting a 13 percent jump in fourth-quarter profits.
Here’s a rundown on the performances of Kansas City area stocks on Monday:
Capitol Federal Financial rose 13 cents, or 1.12 percent, to close at $11.76.
Cerner Corp. rose 52 cents, or 0.71 percent, to close at $74.28.
Collective Brands Inc. fell 14 cents, or 0.81 percent, to close at $17.24.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 46 cents, or 1.18 percent, to close at $39.55.
Compass Minerals fell 28 cents, or 0.38 percent, to close at $73.32.
DST Systems Inc. rose 47 cents, or 0.88 percent, to close at $53.86.
Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 2 cents, or 0.11 percent, to close at $18.92.
Garmin Ltd. fell 52 cents, or 1.08 percent, to close at $47.53.
Great Plains Energy fell 14 cents, or 0.67 percent, to close at $20.67.
H Block Inc. rose 10 cents, or 0.61 percent, to close at $16.48.
Inergy L.P. fell 18 cents, or 1.00 percent, to close at $17.80.
Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 14 cents, or 0.43 percent, to close at $32.64.
Kansas City Southern rose 9 cents, or 0.13 percent, to close at $69.33.
Layne Christensen Co. rose $1.37, or 5.41 percent, to close at $26.69.
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 2 cents, or 0.02 percent, to close at $85.69.
Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 8 cents, or 3.24 percent, to close at $2.55.
UMB Financial Corp. rose 32 cents, or 0.77 percent, to close at $41.88.
Waddell Reed Financial Corp. fell 7 cents, or 0.22 percent, to close at $31.45.
YRC Worldwide Inc. fell 11 cents, or 0.92 percent, to close at $11.88.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.