Active broad-market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:
iShares MSCI Emerging Index Fund ( EEM ): +0.5%
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ): +1.3%
SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.5%
United States Oil Fund ( USO ): +1%
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX ): -2.7%
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM and IVV were firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.9%.
U.S. stocks rallied at session's half following the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday afternoon to maintain interest rates even as Fed Chair Janet Yellen indicated that an increase could happen by year's end.
Dow Jones Industrial Average logged a triple-digit gain, and the Nasdaq Composite hit a record high in intraday trading. All ten sectors of the S&P 500 were in positive territory.
The Fed announcement overshadowed weak economic data. The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales declined 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million. Expectations were for a 5.48 million pace.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board's leading economic index fell 0.2%, weighed by weakness in the manufacturing sector but still pointing to moderate economic growth.
Earlier, the government reported that weekly jobless claims fell by 8,000 to 252,000 - the lowest since mid-July. Expectations were for initial claims to stay unchanged from 260,000 in the prior week. Continuing claims, meanwhile, fell by 36,000 to 2.1 million.
Power Play: Health Care
Health care funds were higher, in line with the broader market. Health Care SPDR (XLV), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) were in the green. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 0.4%.
Ocera Therapeutics (OCRX) was up 14.6% after the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company said it has completed enrollment in STOP-ALF, a phase 2a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of ornithine phenylacetate in patients with acute liver failure. The study was conducted by the Acute Liver Failure Study Group, an National Institutes of Health-sponsored network of university tertiary care liver transplant sites, with support and supply of study medication from Ocera.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.1%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.5% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.7%.
CIT Group (CIT) was up 0.2% after it said CIT Aerospace, Defense & Government Finance provided a $35 million senior secured credit facility to Mesa Airlines, a provider of regional air servicesfor American Airlines and United Airlines. The financing supports the refinancing of existing debt as well as provides working capital. Financing was provided by CIT Bank, N.A., the principal bank unit of CIT. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CIT Treasury Management is also providing cash management services to Mesa Airlines.
Tech funds were higher, mostly ahead of the broader market. 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 higher. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.1%.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.6% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 0.1%.
Towerstream (TWER) was up 13.8% after the provider of fixed wireless services said that it is on track to add 70 buildings to its on-net footprint in Q3. The additions represents a 70% increase over new building additions in Q2, and brings total on-net buildings to 335 towers.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was up 0.5% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was up 0.4%.
Total (TOT) American depositary shares were up 2.7% after CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the company is planning to divest an Italian gas station joint venture with ERG in 2017, Reuters reported. Pouyanne made the remarks at an investor conference in London.
Crude was up 2.3%; United States Oil Fund ( USO ) was up 1.8%. Natural gas was up 0.4% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 1.7%.
Gold was up 0.9%, and silver was up 2.4%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.6% and iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.7%.
Consumer staples funds were firmer, in line with the broader market. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were in positive territory.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and retail funds SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) were inching higher.
Herman Miller (MLHR) was down 7.4% after reporting Q1 earnings of $0.60 per diluted share, two cents below the average of estimates on Capital IQ but topping the year earlier $0.56. Sales slid 5.9% to $598.6 million, missing the Street's view for $614.2 million. Herman Miller sees fiscal Q2 sales between $580 million to $600 million and diluted EPS between $0.52 and $0.56. Two Street analysts see EPS of $0.60 and one predicts revenue of $601.1 million.