Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Firmer, Stocks Little Higher as Apple Provides Lift But Gains Checked by Mixed Manufacturing Data


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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.29%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.37%, near year highs

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -1.4%, still just above its 52-week low

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): +0.46%

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

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.36% and near year highs.

U.S. stocks are edging higher, boosted by Apple (AAPL) which has hit a new 52-week high following a favorable ruling against Samsung in a patent infringement case. Gains, however, have been held in check due to the release of mixed U.S. manufacturing data. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Index of Manufacturing Activity showed a smaller contraction in August than July; but on the other hand, The Production Index declined, suggesting softer growth in output. New orders were also down. Investors are looking ahead to the scheduled speeches of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the end of the week.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) is up 0.3%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 1%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1%. SPDR KBW Regional Banking (KRE), which tracks U.S.-listed regional banks, is up 0.40%.

In financial news, Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) is up nearly 16%, near its 52-week high of $7.62, after the company earlier said that it entered into a definitive agreement with M&T Bank Corporation (MTB), under which Hudson City will merge into a subsidiary of M&T. Under terms of the agreement, each Hudson City share will receive consideration valued at 0.08403 of an M&T share in the form of either M&T stock or cash, based upon the election of each Hudson City shareholder, subject to proration as specified in the merger agreement (which provides for an aggregate split of total consideration of 60% common stock of M&T and 40% cash). Based on the closing price of M&T stock on August 24, 2012, the transaction is valued at approximately $3.7 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to the combined company's capital ratios, capital generation and tangible book value per share, as well as its GAAP and operating earnings per share. MTB shares also hit a new year high of $90.50, and are now up more than 4%.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.46% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.44%.

Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL) is up 0.4% after it posted Q2 earnings of $1.09 per diluted share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.79. Revenues were $1.12 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $1.11 bln. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $1.29 on revenues of $995 mln. Additionally, the company said it increased its ordinary quarterly cash dividend by $0.02 to $0.84.

Commodities -

Crude was down around 1.3%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.81%. Natural gas was down near 2%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 1.85%.

Gold was up 0.15%; silver was up 1.62%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.15% while iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.3%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare and biotech ETFs are higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.28% and hit new year highs; iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), up 0.1%. iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.15% and hit year highs; and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) up 0.3%, touched new year highs.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) was down 3% but is now up more than 1% after the company was halted earlier following its announcement that it received verbal notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a clinical hold has been placed on IDX19368, the company's next-generation nucleotide polymerase inhibitor under development for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The clinical hold is due to concerns related to the serious cardiac-related adverse events reported for HCV patients treated with BMS-986094, a nucleotide polymerase inhibitor previously under development by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), it says. To date, no patients have been exposed to IDX19368.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are firmer: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.3% to near year highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.19%, approaching its year high of $74.97; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.4%.

Retail ETFs are mostly higher: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.08%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), up 0.2%. PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR) is down 0.36%.

Among retailers, Tiffany & Co (TIF) is now up 7% after the company reported Q2 EPS of $0.72, a penny lower than estimates. Revenue for the quarter came in at $887 million, just missing the $890.85 million consensus. For the full year, the company says it sees EPS of $3.55 - $3.70, down from prior guidance of $3.70 - $3.80. The Street is at $3.64.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs are still inching up in mid-day action: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.23%, nearing its 52-week high of $30.95; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.26%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.23%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.4%.

Semiconductor ETFs are edging lower: SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) down 0.37%; and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX), down 0.29%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.65%.

Among tech gainers, Apple (AAPL) is up 2.1% after touching a new 52-week high of $680.87 as investors react to a court ruling that found Samsung Electronics infringed six Apple patents. The court awarded Apple about $1 bln in damages.

Rival Nokia (NOK) is now up 8%, trimming its earlier gains of more than 11%, following a Bloomberg article that discusses how the two companies could benefit from the AAPL/Samsung patent ruling. Samsung's smartphones could face a possible ban, and handset makers and buyers could turn to Nokia smartphones running on Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 as alternatives to smartphones running on Google's (GOOG) android software. MSFT shares are up 0.62% while GOOG shares are down 1.3%.

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
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