Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at closing:
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.84%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +1.54%
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -2.65%
Select Sector Financial ( XLF ): +0.96, near 52-week highs
iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +0.86%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, turned firmer today. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.76%.
U.S. stocks logged some modest gains ahead of the session's closing, and looked to end six sessions of losses - this despite a trading halt on Nasdaq-listed stocks due to technical problems. Market sentiment was cheered by mostly upbeat economic data, with weekly initial jobless claims rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, above forecasts, but still near post-recession lows, according to MarketWatch. In housing data, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in June, and increased 7.7% from the same period in the prior year. The Conference Board also reported that leading economic index for the U.S. rose 0.6% in July to 96.0, slightly above expectations.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.14%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 3.02%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 3.02%.
Among financial stocks, Northrim BanCorp, Inc. (NRIM) was up 4.22% after it announced that Christopher J. Knudson has resigned his position as Chief Operating Officer of the company and of Northrim Bank, effective August 16, 2013. CFO Joe Schierhorn will assume the COO role and continue his responsibilities as CFO.
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.41%; other tech ETFs 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 also higher.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were both up more than 60%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.
In sector news, SunEdison (SUNE) was up 16% after saying its board has approved an initial public offering of its semiconductor business to create SunEdison Semiconductor.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were higher, up 1.5% and 1.75% respectively.
In sector news, Williams Companies Inc. (WMB) was up 3.33% after the energy infrastructure company declared a regular dividend of $0.36625, payable Sept. 30, 2013, to holders of record at the close of business on Sept. 13. The Q3 dividend is a 17.2% increase vs. the year-ago amount and a 3.9% increase over the prior quarter dividend. WMB said it continues to expect to increase the full-year dividend it pays shareholders by 20% in each 2013, 2014 and 2015, to per-share amounts of $1.44, $1.75 and $2.11, respectively. WMB' full-year dividend for 2012 was $1.20 per share.
Crude was up 1.193%; natural gas was up 1.91%. United States Oil Fund
(USO) was up 1.08%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.10%.
Gold was up 0.38% and silver was up 0.63%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.61%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.68%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.69%; other healthcare ETFs Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) edged into positive territory. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.07%.
In corporate news, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (RDY) was up 2.22% after saying it has launched Divalproex Sodium Extended-Release Tablets, a therapeutic equivalent generic version of Abbott Laboratories' (ABT) Depakote ER mood stabilizers. RDY's ANDA for Divalproex Sodium Extended - Release Tablets, USP was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Power Play -
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 0.55%; other consumer ETFs Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were also higher.
Retail ETFs were firmer: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.06%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 1.07%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.36% and earlier hit a new year high of $53.78.
In sector news, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) is down 17.26% after the company reported that Q2 GAAP EPS of $0.14, missing the Capital IQ GAAP consensus estimate of $0.28. Revenues of $945.7 million also fell short of the consensus of $998.06 million.
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