Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at Thursday's regular
SPDR S&P 500 (
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (
iShares MSCI Japan ETF (
iShares Russell 2000 Index (
Broad Market Indicators
Most broad market exchange-traded funds were firmer. Actively
traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.42%.
U.S. stocks were also trading higher at session's half after the
report that the Philadelphia index on manufacturing sentiment rose
to a reading of 9.0 in March after a sharp decline in the prior
month. The Philly manufacturing data outshone the other downbeat
economic data reported earlier - the weekly jobless claims rose by
5,000 to 320,000; and existing home sales were down 0.4% in
February, its slowest rate since July 2012.
Power Play: Consumer
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer
Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK)
were edging higher.
Among stocks, Herman Miller (MLHR) jumped to a six-year high, up
8.15% after the interior furnishings company reported Q3 sales of
$455.9 million, shy of the analyst consensus of $458 million on
Capital IQ. EPS was $0.34, in line with expectations. For Q4, the
company guides for sales of $485-$505 million and EPS of
$0.43-$0.47, vs.the Street view of $486.9 million in revenue and
earnings of $0.43 per share.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
) was up 1.56%, and near its five-year high. Direxion Daily
Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 2.22%. Its bearish
counterpart, FAZ, was down 2.39%.
Among sector news, virtual banking solutions provider Q2
Holdings (QTWO) was up more than 22% on its debut on the New York
Stock Exchange. It priced its 7.8 million shares in an initial
public offering at $13 each. The offering consists of 6.25 million
shares from the company and 1.51 million from certain stockholders.
The shares began trading Thursday, March 20, on the New York Stock
Exchange under the ticker symbol "QTWO."
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 weaker. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF
(IPK) was flat.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was
up 1.16%, and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.2% -
both funds reached record highs.
In stocks news, Comcast (CMCSA) was up 2% after the company
published a regulatory filing urging shareholders to vote in favor
of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) and a golden
parachute plan. Both TWC and CMCSA have asked investors to vote in
favor of the transaction. According to the SEC filing both
companies will hold special shareholder meetings to allow investors
to vote. TWC shareholders will also vote on the "golden parachute"
compensation payments to its executive officers in connection with
the merger. Approval of the "golden parachute" compensation
proposal is not a condition to completion of the merger. CMCSA
shareholders will be asked to approve the necessary stock issuance
in connection with the merger.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR
(XLE) were both firmer.
In corporate news, Walter Energy (WLT) was down 15% to
multi-year lows Thursday after Bank of America Merrill Lynch
reiterated its underperform rating and cut the target price to $2
from $8. The price cut is based on expectations for coal supply and
demand fundamentals to be depressed for the next several years
because of excess supply, substitute resources, and other factors.
The analyst call came after the company said on Wednesday it had
doubled the size of its 5-year 9.5% senior secured note sale to
$200 million. The sale is alongside $350 million in second lien PIK
toggle notes due in 2020.
Crude was down 1.04%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down
0.81%. Natural gas was down 1.88%; United States Natural Gas Fund
(UNG) was down 1.76%.
Gold was down 0.74% and silver was down 1.97%. Among rare metal
funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.15%; iShares Silver Trust
(SLV) was down 0.86%.
Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and
iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were in the red. Biotech ETF
iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was down 0.7%.
In corporate news, ZIOPHARM Oncology (ZIOP) was up more than 11%
and earlier reached a new 52-week high after the biotechnology
company said Francois Lebel, senior vice president of clinical
development and medical operations, will present at an industry
conference next week. The event is the 21st Annual Future Leaders
in the Biotech Industry Conference, to take place in New York.
Lebel will make his presentation on Friday, March 28, at 3:00 p.m.
ET. Investors appeared optimistic for what Lebel will say in the
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