ETF Preview: ETFs, Futures Higher Ahead of February Wholesale Inventories, FOMC Minutes

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at the close of Tuesday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.43%

iShares S&P 500 ( IVV ): +0.41%


PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ): +0.92%

iShares Russell 2000 ( IWM ): +0.74%

iShares Russell 1000 Growth ( IWF ): +0.54%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (EEM): +1.21%

United States Oil Fund (USO): +1.71%

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): +0.94%

Select Financial Sector SPDRS (XLF):+0.14%

Pre-Market Movers

SPY, +0.08%

EEM, +0.36%

EWJ, flat

IWM, +0.21%

QQQ, +0.19%

Broad Market Indicators

Most broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, and IVV, were logging modest gains in pre-market trading Wednesday. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) was up 0.19%.

U.S. stock futures were also firmer, as Alcoa (AA) started off the earnings season with strong bottom line results. Investors continue to be cautious ahead of the release of the March FOMC minutes, while bargain-hunting in tech and social-media stocks helped lift global equity markets. In economic data, wholesale inventories for February will be released 10 am ET, with economists expecting a 0.5% increase, following the 0.7% gain in January.

Power Play: Industrial

Industrial ETFs Vanguard Industrials (VIS), iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI) are unchanged in pre-market trading after seeing slight gains in the previous session.

In sector news, Alcoa (AA) was up more than 3% after the company reported late Tuesday Q1 earnings, excluding items, of $0.09 per share, better than the analyst consensus of $0.05 per share on Capital IQ. Sales were $5.45 billion, shy of the Street view of $5.55 billion. Alcoa is increasing its 2014 global aerospace growth expectation by one percentage point (8% - 9%, previously 7% - 8%), on strong demand for both large commercial aircraft and regional jets and continued growth in the business jet market. The company also continues to project 2014 growth in automotive (1% - 4%), packaging (2% - 3%), and building and construction (4% - 6%). Alcoa expects a steady commercial transportation market (-1% - 3%) and a decline in the industrial gas turbine market (-8% to -12%) on lower orders for new gas turbines and spare parts. Alcoa continues to project 7% global aluminum demand growth in 2014.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.37%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 0.41%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 0.19%.

Among financial stocks, e*TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC) was up some 2% in pre-market trading after analysts at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch have upgraded their coverage of the company's stock to a neutral rating from underperform. The firm raised its price target on the stock to $21 from $19 a share.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were flat. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was also quiet in pre-market trading.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were unchanged as well.

In corporate news, Local Corporation (LOCM) was up some 3% Wednesday after the advertising and technology company said it has launched a new mobile display ad network for advertisers and publishers. "The launch of our mobile display ad network is a natural progression as we focus on becoming a mobile-first company," said Michael Sawtell, president and COO. The company cited figures from eMarketer, saying U.S. mobile display ad spending is expected to grow from $8.1 billion this year to $16.3 billion in 2016. Local had network growth of over 140% in 2013, and the release of new mobile products will continue to drive revenue growth, Sawtell said.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were unchanged in pre-bell trading.

Among stocks, Synthesis Energy Systems (SYMX) on Wednesday announced the operational launch of ZCM-SES Sino-U.S. Clean Energy Technologies in China, its joint venture with Zhangjiagang Chemical Machinery. Zhangjiagang Chemical holds a 65% ownership interest in ZCM-SES and exclusive manufacturing rights for all ZCM-SES customer projects, in exchange for funding working capital needs. Synthesis Energy is contributing exclusive usage of its gasification technology in China and the joint venture's additional markets for a 35% interest in ZCM-SES.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.14%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.41%. Natural gas was up 0.75% while United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.67%.

Gold was down 0.47% and silver was down 1.88%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.53% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.82%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were unchanged pre-market.

Retail ETFs SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), were also flat.

Among stocks, American Apparel (APP) shares jumped 11% in Wednesday's pre-market session, after Bloomberg reported Swiss firm FiveT Capital, a Swiss firm that just reported Monday it boosted its stake in the apparel retailer to nearly 13%, is sharing ideas with American Apparel's CEO. The Bloomberg report noted Johannes Minho Roth, who runs FiveT Capital, "likes that American Apparel's focus on quality lets it sell clothes at premium prices." FiveT will focus on helping American Apparel improve its finances, possibly by seeking to lower the interest rate on the retailer's debt, the Bloomberg report said.

Health Care

Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were unchanged. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.3% in pre-market trading.

In corporate news, Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO) shares declined 3% after the biopharmaceutical company said it was informed by the Food and Drug Administration that a clinical hold has been placed on patient enrollment and dosing of its PEGPH20 in an ongoing Phase 2 trial evaluating PEGPH20 in patients with pancreatic cancer. The clinical hold comes after Halozyme last week said it was temporarily halting patient enrollment and dosing in the trial, following a recommendation from an independent data-monitoring committee. The committee is assessing clinical data "that indicates a possible difference in the thromboembolic event rate between the group of patients treated with PEGPH20, nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine versus the group of patients treated with nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine without PEGPH20," the company said Friday.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: SPY , IVV , QQQ , IWM , IWF

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As of 12/19/2014, 04:15 PM


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