Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Firmer, Stocks Edge Higher on Upbeat U.S. Economic Numbers; Dow Nears Record Highs


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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.3%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -1.1%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.34%, near 52 week highs.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.02%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.5%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continue to be mostly firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.5%.

U.S. stocks are still edging higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearing its all-time record high. Market sentiment was buoyed by the February Chicago PMI, which showed an 11-month high reading of 56.8, better than estimates. Earlier, stocks logged modest gains following the report that U.S. GDP for Q4 went up 0.1%, better than the initial report of a 0.1% contraction. But the gain, which was driven by improvements in residential construction and net exports, was less than the anticipated 0.5% growth, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. The Labor Department also reported that weekly first-time jobless claims declined 22,000 to 344,000. This topped economists' expectations that the number of first time applicants for state unemployment-insurance benefits would remain unchanged.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.5%, near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 1.15%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1.3% and near 52 week lows.

Among financial stocks, RBS (RBS) ADRs are now down 6.5% after the bank reported 2012 revenue of GBP 25.79 billion, versus GBP 27.71 billion last year, while its net loss widened to GBP 5.97 billion, from GBP 2 billion last year. The company also confirmed it will float part of its U.S. retail bank and retreat further from investment banking in an effort to shore up capital.

Technology -

Tech ETFs are firmer in mid-day trading: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.5%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.24%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.3%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.36%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.5% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 0.6%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is flat.

In sector news, Procera Networks (PKT) is down 29% and has touched fresh new year lows of $11.81. The company reported Q4 earnings of $0.12 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.14. Revenues were $16.57 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $19.09 mln. The company projects FY13 revenue growth of 25% - 30%.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs are higher, nearing their 52-week highs: Industrial Vanguard Industrials (VIS), up 0.3%; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), up 0.4%; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), up 0.5%.

Among stocks, Chart Industries (GTLS) is now up 10% after reporting Q4 earnings of $0.80 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.75. Revenues were $303.9 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $277.57 mln. For FY13, the company expects EPS of $3 - $3.40, ex special items, on revenues of $1.2 bln - $1.3 bln. Analysts are looking for EPS of $3.52 on sales of $1.19 bln.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.6%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.7%.

In sector news, Western Refining (WNR) is up 4% and near 52 week highs after the company reported Q4 earnings of $1.45 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $1.35. Revenues were $2.25 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $2.31 bln.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.03%; United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.30%. Natural gas was up 1.15%, following the report that working gas in storage was 2,229 Bcf as of Feb 22. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 1.65%.

Gold was down 1.13% and silver was down 1.48%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.96%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.18%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.32%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.35%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH); up 0.32%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is up 0.85%, with a new year high of $148.56.

In corporate news, Anika Therapeutics (ANIK) is now up 16.71%, adding to gains of about 8%, after it reported in Wednesday's after hours session that revenues were $22.6 mln, vs. the analyst consensus of $21.6 mln on Capital IQ. EPS was $0.31, vs. expectations of $0.24 per share, if comparable.

Power Play -

Consumer -

Consumer and retail ETFs continue to see active trade at mid-day as several more companies in the sector report their earnings. Consumer ETFs are firmer, nearing their year highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.28%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.23%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.23%.

Retail ETFs are higher: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.06%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.34%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.02%, with a new year high of $46.60.

In sector news, Groupon (GRPN) is down 19.6%, trimming earlier losses of some 27%. It reported Q4 revenues of $638.3 mln, below the analyst consensus of $640.3 mln on Capital IQ. GAAP loss was $0.12, including $0.07 per share from a non-operating item. The Street view was a gain of $0.03 per share, generally an ex-items number. For Q1, the company sees revs of $560 to $610 mln, vs. the Street view of $648 mln.

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: EEM , QQQ , SPY , VXX , XLF

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