Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Firmer, Stocks Higher as Progress in Fiscal Talks Back In Focus

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.1%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.6%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.06%

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +0.3%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.15%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.15%.

U.S. stocks are edging higher as investors again focus on progress regarding the so-called 'fiscal cliff'. President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner met over the weekend to resume talks. Both parties did not provide details about the negotiations, but said that communication lines remain open. Earlier, stocks had slipped lower after Italian prime Minister Mario Monti announced he would resign from his position once Italy's parliament approves the 2013 budget, sparking doubts whether Italian politicians replacing the Monti government could maintain a credible adjustment program and low bond yields, according to a report on Market Watch.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.06%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 0.2%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 0.12%.

Among financial actives, American International Group Inc. (AIG) is down 1.9% following a report on Reuters that stated the firm will sell nearly all of ILFC, an airplane leasing business, to a Chinese consortium for up to $4.8 billion. Reuters said the Chinese firms have shown interest in aircraft leasing before, and the deal would give China access to a global network of about 200 airlines in 80 countries. China is already ILFC's largest market with 180 planes operating there, giving it 35% market share.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs are firmer: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), up 0.4% and have hit new 5 week highs; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), up 0.4% and near 52 week highs; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), up 0.4%.

In stocks news, Ingersoll-Rand (IR) is now down 0.8%, having earlier hit 52 week highs. The company confirmed that it will spin off its security-technology business, launch a share-buyback program and increase its dividend as part of a compromise reached with Trian Fund Management LP.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.2% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is 0.15% lower.

In sector news, Ferrellgas Partners (FGP) is up around 3% after the company reported a Q1 loss of $0.22 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.26 loss per share. Revenues were $362.9 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $454.29 mln, if comparable. In the same period last year, the company reported a loss of $0.42 per share on revenues of $538.4 mln.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.34%; natural gas was down 3.49%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.1%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 3.5%.

Gold was up 0.52%; silver was up 0.72%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.5%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is also up 0.5%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are in the green: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.5%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.6%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.6%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), up 1.4%.

In corporate news, Geron (GERN) is up near 24%, adding to pre-market gains of some 19%. The company earlier reported positive results from its Phase 2 trial of imetelstat, the company's telomerase inhibitor, in patients with essential thrombocythemia, a chronic blood disorder that is representative of a group of diseases known as myeloproliferative neoplasms. Data from the study demonstrated that patients, who did not respond to or tolerate other therapies, showed rapid and durable hematologic and molecular responses when treated with imetelstat.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are higher: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.03% and edging nearer to 52 week highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), now slightly lower after earlier going near year highs; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.04%.

In sector news, McDonald's (MCD) is up 1.2% after the company reported that global comparable sales increase 2.4% in November.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs are firmer: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.2%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.3%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.4%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.6%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.98% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 0.72%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is flat.

Intermec (IN) is up 22.93% and has hit new 52 week highs after the company announced a definitive agreement under which Honeywell International Inc. (HON) will acquire Intermec for $10.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $600 million, net of cash and debt acquired. Separately, HON reaffirmed its FY12 outlook, and issued a 2013 forecast for sales of $39 to $39.5 bln and EPS of $4.75 to $4.95 per share, vs. the analyst consensus on Capital IQ of $39.4 bln in sales and earnings of $4.96 per share. HON shares are down 0.3% but at high end of 52 week range.



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 , IWM , QQQ , SPY , XLF

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