Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 (
iShares Russell 2000 Index (
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures (
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (
Financial Select Sector SPDR (
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and
others, are firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up
U.S. stocks are trading firmly in the green as new housing data
for May - showing a 7.9% rise in housing permits despite a 4.8%
decline in new homes starts - may just be the catalyst for the
Federal Reserve to initiate additional moves to stimulate the
economy, as many investors are hoping. A two-day Federal Reserve
meeting begins today, with much of Wall Street expecting that the
Fed will announce an extension to the $400 billion Operation Twist
Winners and Losers
Among tech actives: Apple (AAPL) is up 0.4%; Microsoft (MSFT) is
up 3.7%; Intel (INTC) is up 0.5%; Google (GOOG) is up 1.8%; Cisco
(CSCO) is up 0.4%; Yahoo (YHOO) is up 0.98%.
Network Engines (NEI) has surged 80% to near year highs after
the company announced that it agreed to be acquired by UNICOM
Systems, a global information technology company and part of the
UNICOM group of companies, for $1.45 per common share in cash or a
total of $63.2 million. The price represents a premium of 85.5% to
NEI's closing price of $0.78 on June 18. Upon the consummation of
the merger, NEI will become a private company, wholly owned by
Network Equipment Technologies (NWK) is up 12% after Sonus
Networks (SONS) agreed to acquire it for $1.35 per share in a cash
merger, valued at a total of $42 million, excluding
acquisition-related costs. SONS shares are down 3.85%.
Oracle (ORCL) is up 2.8%, pulling back from its earlier gains of
about 5%, after the company reported Q4 earnings of $0.82 per
share, ex one-time items, versus the analyst consensus of $0.78.
Revenues were $10.92 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $10.89
bln. ORCL's report was an unexpected release, as the company was
scheduled to report on Thursday this week.
Microsoft (MSFT) is still firmer following yesterday's launch of
the company's latest product, Surface: a new Windows-based tablet
computer to compete against Apple's (AAPL) iPad.
In the ETF space, iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) is
up 1%; Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) is up 0.9%; and
iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) is up 1.1%.
iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) is
SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 1.3% and Semiconductor
Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 1.5%.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) up 1%. Energy Select Sector
SPDR (XLE) is up 1.1%.
CenterPoint Energy (CNP) has turned positive after the company
signed an agreement with Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP), under
which MMLP's subsidiary, Prism Gas Systems, will sell its East
Texas and Northwest Louisiana natural gas gathering and processing
assets, and certain other natural gas gathering and processing
assets also owned by the MMLP, to CNP's indirect subsidiary,
CenterPoint Energy Field Services for $275 million. The assets to
be sold include the MMLP's 50% operating interest in the Waskom Gas
Processing Company. A subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy Field
Services owns the remaining 50% interest in Waskom. MMLP is up
Valero Energy (VLO) is up 3% after shares were upgraded to Buy
from Neutral at UBS, maintaining a price target of $26.
Crude is up 0.88% at $84.00 a barrel. United States Oil Fund
(USO) is up 0.96% at 31.62.
Gold is down $3.90 at $1,623.10 an ounce. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)
is down 0.5% at around 157.10. Silver is down 0.98% at $28.39 a
pound. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1% at around 27.60.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) is up 0.9% near year highs; iShares
NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is up 1.4% and has hit year highs;
Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) is up 1% and has hit new year highs;
and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) are up 1% near year
AstraZeneca (AZN) is up 2.8% while Palatin Technologies (PTN) is
down 15% near year lows after the two companies halted their Phase
I clinical trial of AZD2820, an obesity compound that both parties
are developing under a research collaboration, after a subject in
the trial suffered what the companies suspect was an allergic
reaction following his first dose.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) is flat but still near
year highs; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) is slightly
lower; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) is up 0.08% and has
hit new year highs.
SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) is up 1.4%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail
(PMR) is up 0.9%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) is up 0.4%
and has hit new year highs.
Barnes & Noble (BKS) is down 6% after the company posted Q4
revenue of $1.38 bln and net loss of $1.08 per share. The analyst
consensus on Capital IQ called for revenue of $1.47 billion and a
loss of $0.95 per share.
Walgreens (WAG) is down 6% near year lows after the company
earlier reported Q3 earnings of $0.62 per share, on revenues of
$17.75 bln. Results include $0.01 per diluted share due to costs
related to a strategic transaction with Alliance Boots, in which
WAG will invest $6.7 billion in cash and stock (comprised of $4
billion in cash and 83.4 million shares) in exchange for a 45%
equity ownership stake in Alliance Boots. The Q3 results may not be
comparable to the Capital IQ consensus of $0.63 EPS on revenues of
$17.95 bln. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items. The
company also announced that it has increased its quarterly dividend
22.2% to $0.275 cents per share, payable Sept. 12, to shareholders
of record Aug. 17. The increase raises the annual dividend rate
from $0.90 per share to $1.10 per share.
Power Play -
ETFs and stocks in the financial sector are trading higher and
leading the broader market rally in mid-day trading.
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
) is up 1.9%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up
5%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 5%.
Among actives: Bank of America (BAC) is up 5%, Goldman Sachs
(GS) is up 3.6%, Morgan Stanley (MS) is up 4.2%; Citigroup (C) is
Discover Financial Services (DFS) is up 2.4% and nearer to year
highs. The company earlier reported Q2 EPS of $1.00, topping
estimates for $0.97. Revenue for the quarter came in at $1.8
billion, in-line with expectations.
Jefferies Group (JEF) is up 2% after it posted Q2 EPS of $0.31,
topping estimates for $0.28. Revenue for the quarter came in at
$706.5 million, ahead of the $681.33 million consensus.
Citigroup (C) continues to trade higher after it announced that
its Citi Transaction Services business was appointed by Balfour
Beatty, an international infrastructure group, as depositary bank
for its sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR)
program. Balfour Beatty's ADR programme trades in the OTCQX
platform in the US over-the-counter (OTC) market under the symbol
BAFYY, with each ordinary share comprised of 4 ADRs. Balfour
Beatty's ordinary shares are also listed on the London Stock
Bank of America (BAC) is also firmer following a StreetInsider
report that stated the bank is in discussions with Julius Baer
Group Ltd., a Swiss private banking group, about Merrill Lynch's
international wealth management business (outside the United