Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Extend Weakness, Stocks Turn Lower as Boehner Comments Put 'Fiscal Cliff' Back in Spotlight


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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.66%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.5%

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.6%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.9%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.5%, but near year highs.

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are extending weakness into the session's second half. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is down nearly 1%.

U.S. stocks are lower as focus once again veered towards the threat of a so-called 'fiscal cliff'. House Speaker John Boehner, speaking in a news conferee, cited spending as the issue that is preventing the fiscal talks from reaching a resolution. Earlier, stocks investors sifted through mixed economic data: jobless claims declined to 343,000; November U.S. retail sales rose 0.3%; overall producer prices declined 0.8% in November, while PPI, ex food and energy, rose 0.1%.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 0.5%, but still near 52-week highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 1.4%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 1.5%.

Among financial actives, MBIA Inc. (MBI) is up nearly 7% following reports the mortgage insurance company and Bank of America (BAC) are close to a deal settling their long-running legal feud. Analysts at CreditSights, an industry research firm, this week published a report noting MBI recently received bondholder approval to revise the terms of some of its debt while the bank last week said it is going ahead with an existing offer to buy MBI bonds - a move, according to CreditSights, likely signaling a deal is in the works. BAC shares are down 0.6%.

Technology -

Tech ETFs are weaker in mid-day action: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.7%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), also down 0.7%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.1%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.8%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.11% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 1%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 1%.

In sector news, Clearwire (CLWR) is up 14% and has hit 52 week highs following reports that Sprint Nextel's (S) board authorized its management to proceed with talks to acquire the 49% of Clearwire shares it doesn't already own, according to Dow Jones Newswires. The proposed purchase price is $2.90 per share, according to reports, valuing the company at about $2 billion. Sprint shares are up 0.6% and nearer to 52 week highs.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 1%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is down 0.9%.

In sector news, Cobalt International Energy, Inc. (CIE) is down 1.5% after it said late Wednesday that in connection with its previously announced registered underwritten public offering of $1.2 bln aggregate principal amount of 2.625% convertible senior notes due 2019, announced that the underwriters of the offering have exercised in full their over-allotment option to purchase an additional $180 mln aggregate principal amount of Notes, bringing total gross proceeds from this offering of Notes to $1.38 bln. Cobalt expects to close the offering of the Notes (including the additional Notes) on December 17, 2012, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.05%; likewise, natural gas was down 1.24%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.35%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 2.7%.

Gold was down 1%; silver was down 3.57%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 1%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 3.2%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are lower: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.8% but near year highs; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.75%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.7%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 1.3%.

In corporate news, Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INFI) is up 7.6%, having earlier posted a new 52-week high after the company announced the pricing an underwritten registered public offering of 5,696,923 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $26.33 per share. The offering is expected to close by December 18, 2012, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Power Play -

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are lower but still at the high end of their 52 week ranges: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.1% from near year highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.4%, but also near year highs; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.2%.

Retail ETFs are firmer: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.3%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), -0.2%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.4%, with a new 52-week high of $45.20.

In sector news, Boston Beer (SAM) is up 15% and has hit 52 week highs after it said yesterday it expects 2012 EPS range to be between $4.30 and $4.60, an increase from the previously communicated range of $3.80 to $4.20. The analyst consensus on Capital IQ is for EPS of $4.24 per share. The increase is primarily due to increased shipment volumes and the timing of certain selling, general and administrative expenses. The company also now projects full-year depletions growth of between 11% and 13%, based on its analysis of year-to-date depletions versus 2011. The company is increasing its 2013 depletions projection range to be between 10% and 15%, from its previously communicated growth of high single digits, based on its current depletions forecast for 2013. Actual results may vary materially from this projection.

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

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

This article appears in: Investing Commodities
Referenced Stocks: EEM , EWJ , QQQ , SPY , XLF

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