Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Firmer, Stocks Extend Gains Following Upbeat Housing Data


Active broad market exchange-traded funds in Thursday's regular session:

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.81%

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.55%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +1.25%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.39%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX ) +4.88%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, have inched higher into positive territory. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.68%. Most sectors have been seeing gains; among commodity ETFs , natural gas funds are underperforming the broader market while crude funds are in step with market gains following petroleum and natural gas inventories reports.

U.S. stocks were firmer in the session's half, following upbeat housing data, with the National Association of Realtors reporting that pending sales of homes rose 0.3% in April. Earlier, stocks struggled to retain modest gains following the report that the U.S. Q1 GDP growth was revised down 2.4%, slightly lower than expected, while weekly jobless claims rose to 354,000 - above forecasts.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 1.25%, near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 3.03%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 3.08%.

Among financial stocks, Blackstone (BX) slipped lower after it said it may withdraw $400 million from SAC Capital Advisors, which is twice as much as the company expected earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Technology -

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 0.79% and was just below its 52-week high. 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 near their 52-week highs.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) neared its their 52-week high, up 2.05%, while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.68%, and earlier hit a new 52-week high of $64.71.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 1.02%.

In sector news, Clearwire (CLWR) was up 24.43%, with a new 52-week high of $4.37 after DISH Network (DISH) said late last night it is raising its bid to acquire CLWR to $4.40 per share cash, above a $3.40 per share proposal by Sprint. DISH had initially bid $3.30 per share for CLWR late in 2012.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were both weaker, down 0.09% and 0.21%, respectively.

In sector news, NV Energy (NVE) was up 22.46%, with a new 52-week high of $23.68, after the company late yesterday said it's being acquired by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company for $23.75 per share in cash.

Consumer -

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) slipped 0.02%, while other consumer ETFs iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) were mixed, but trading at the higher end of their 52-week ranges.

In sector news, Express, Inc. (EXPR) has jumped 11.97% and earlier touched a new 52-week high of $21.23. The company reported better-than-expected Q1 results, and issued Q2 earnings guidance above Street estimates.

Healthcare -

Health Care SPDR (XLV) was up 0.70%. Other Healthcare ETFs Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) are also firmer. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.17%.

In corporate news, Amarin (AMRN) was up 8.98% after it presented additional data on Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) and its effect on lipoprotein particle concentration from the Phase 3 ANCHOR study at the National Lipid Association (NLA) 2013 Annual Scientific Session in Las Vegas, Nevada. The data presentation reported that Vascepa 4 g/day, when added to optimized statin therapy for 12 weeks, significantly reduced median particle concentrations of total very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) by 12.2%, total low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 7.7%, and small LDL particles by 13.5% across the 12 week treatment period, compared with placebo.

Commodities -

Crude was higher following the Department of Energy's report that crude oil inventories had a build of 3 million, versus the consensus of a draw of 0.45 million. Crude was up 0.59% while crude fund United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.18%.

Natural gas on the other hand slipped lower following inventory data that showed a build of 88 bcf, versus expectations of a build of of 85 bcf - 90 bcf. Natural gas was down 0.3.20% while natural gas fund United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2.79%.

Precious metals were firmer: gold was up 1.65% and silver was up 2.19%. Among precious metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 1.35% while Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) was up 4.60%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 2.07%.

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 , EWJ , GDX , SPY , XLF

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