Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 (
): +0.02%, reached a new year high
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM (
): -2.5%, close to its year low
iShares Russell 2000 Index (
Financial Select Sector SPDR (
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and
others, are mixed. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up
0.29% to near year highs.
U.S. stocks are inching higher, buoyed by the report that the
University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters Consumer Sentiment Index
rose to 73.6 in August, topping analyst estimates of 72. Leading
indicators also increased 0.4% in July, over consensus expectations
of 0.2%. Market sentiment has also been brightened by comments from
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who reaffirmed that her nation is
committed to preserving the euro.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
) is up 0.1% but off a year high hit earlier; Direxion Daily
Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 0.25%. Its bearish
counterpart, FAZ, is down 0.15%.
In financial news, Life Partners Holdings (LPHI) is down 13.5%,
sinking to a new 52-week low of $2.02, following a report on
Bloomberg that the life insurance firm has been sued by Texas
attorney general, Greg Abbott, for allegedly selling unregistered
securities. Abbott has filed for a court order to bar the firm, its
CEO Brian D. Pardo and president R. Scott Peden from selling the
fraudulent securities, the report continued. Pardo has denied the
allegations in a statement the company issued late Thursday.
ETFs in the tech space are modestly firmer: Technology Select
Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.36% and hit new year highs; iShares Dow
Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.5%; iShares S&P North
American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.12%; and iShares S&P North
American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.61%.
Semiconductor ETFs, however, are weaker: SPDR S&P
Semiconductor (XSD) and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) are
lower, 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively.
SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is
In tech news, Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) is down more than
10%, near the year low of $10.27 after it reported late Thursday Q2
earnings of $0.24 per share, down from a $0.38 profit last year and
trailing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.02. Revenues fell 9.1% to
$816.1 million - or nearly $37 below analyst expectations. The
company also issued Q3 guidance during its earnings conference
call, expecting earnings of $0.24 on revenues of between $800 mln
to $850 mln, according to a report on Briefing.com. Analysts on
Capital IQ are expecting EPS of $0.31 and $917.10 million in
On the upside, Apple (AAPL) is up 1.4% and jumped to a new
52-week high of $645.48, surpassing the previous record of $644
touched this April. Earlier today Jefferies raised their price
target to $900 from $800.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.22% while Energy
Select Sector SPDR (XLE) has lost small earlier gains and is now
Among stocks, ION Geophysical Corp. (IO) is down more than 10%
after a federal jury late yesterday decided against the oilfield
services company, ordering it to pay $105.9 million after
infringing patents owned by a Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB)
Crude was up 0.15%. Natural gas was down 0.47%. United States
Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.9%; likewise, United States Natural Gas Fund
(UNG) is up 0.5%.
Gold was down 0.12%; silver was also lower, down 0.8%. Among
rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.1%; iShares Silver
Trust (SLV) is down 0.6%.
Healthcare and biotech ETFs are underperforming the broader
market: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.2%; iShares NASDAQ
Biotechnology Index (IBB), down 0.5%; Vanguard Health Care ETF
(VHT), down 0.6%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down
Among stocks, Vivus (VVUS) continues to tick lower, now down 6%
after catching a downgrade to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.
The firm slashed its price target on the stock, to $16.00 from
$31.00. According to StreetInsider, the firm cited generic
competition as the reason for the downgrade.
Power Play -
ETFs in the space are firmer in mid-day action: Consumer Staples
Select Sector SPDR (XLP), now flat, near its 52-week high; iShares
Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.24% and near year highs;
and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.01% and also near
SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) is up 0.7%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail
(PMR) and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) are also higher, up 0.24%
and 0.39%, respectively.
Among retailers moving in reaction to earnings, Ann (ANN) is the
top gainer, and continues to climb in mid-day action, now up more
than 20%. Shares reached a new year high of $34.38. The retailer of
women's apparel, shoes and accessories reported second quarter 2012
net earnings per diluted share of $0.63, compared to the consensus
estimate of $0.51 per share earnings. Revenues were $594.9 mln,
which is also above the $585.6 mln estimate. In the same period
last year, net earnings per diluted share were $0.47 on revenues of
$558.2 mln. The company has also increased its outlook for the full
year 2012 with total net sales expected to approach $2.385 bln,
reflecting a total company comparable sales increase in the