Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Firmer, Stocks Turn Positive Ahead of Obama's State of the Union Address; G7 Clarifies Position of Exchange Rates


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

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.59%, with a new 52-week high of $17.80

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY ): +0.18%, hit a 52 week high of $152.07

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.18%.

iPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN ( VXX ): -1.15%, with a new 52-week low of $22.33

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 down 0.15%.

U.S. stocks have turned positive in the session's half, following a clarification from a G7 official, who said the G7's earlier statement was misinterpreted and that the upcoming meeting will not target exchange rates. The ministers and governors of G7 said that it will continue to use domestic instruments to achieve their respective domestic objectives.

Also providing a lift to market sentiment, the Kansas City Federal Reserve's Esther L. George's commented that the U.S. economy remains uneven, but is optimistic that it is recovering faster than expected. Still ahead, the January Treasury Budget will be released at 2 PM ET, while President Barack Obama's State of the Union address will be given after the close of today's regular session.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.59%, touching a new 52-week high of $17.80. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 1.77%, with new 52-week high of $152.31. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1.52%, with a new 52-week low of $11.67.

Among financial actives, Barclays (BCS) is up 8.39% and pushed to a fresh new 52-week high of $20.55 after it said it would slash thousands of jobs. According to Dow Jones Newswires, the bank will cut 3,700 jobs and narrow its focus to three key locations.

Technology -

Tech ETFs Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), off 0.23%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.36%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.08%, near its 52-week high; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) up 0.33%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.45% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is off 0.02%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.22% but is near its 52-week high.

In sector news, Level 3 Communications (LVLT) is now down 10.58% after the company reported Q4 revenue of $1.61 bln, just ahead of the analyst consensus of $1.60 bln on Capital IQ and up from $1.579 bln a year ago. EPS loss was $0.16, vs. expectations of a loss of $0.07 per share, if comparable. Shares closed at $24.66.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.2% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.26%. Both energy ETFs are near their 52-week highs.

In sector news, Gran Tierra Energy Inc. (GTE) is now up 7.68% after the company provided updates for its exploration drilling in Peru and appraisal drilling in Colombia.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.39%; natural gas was down 0.95%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.54%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 1.03%.

Gold was up 0.18% and silver was up 0.47%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.15%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.13%.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are mostly lower but near their 52-week highs: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.21%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.02%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.15%.

In sector news, Avon Products (AVP) is up 19.13% after it reported Q4 revs of $2.99 bln, in line with the analyst consensus of $2.99 bln on Capital IQ. EPS was $0.37, vs. expectations of $0.27 per share.

Power Play -

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are dipping lower, but still at the higher end of their 52-week ranges: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.05%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.06%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.11%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 0.21%.

In corporate news, StemCells (STEM) is now up 20.97%, trimming earlier gains, after it announced that the 12-month data from the first patient cohort in the company's Phase I/II clinical trial of its proprietary HuCNS-SC product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) for chronic spinal cord injury continued to demonstrate a favorable safety profile, and showed that the considerable gains in sensory function observed in two of the three patients at the six-month assessment have persisted.

The third patient remains stable. By completing the twelve-month assessment, the first patient cohort has now completed the trial, and has entered into a separate follow-up study for long-term observation.

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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