Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Mixed, Stocks Lower as Investors Fret Over Gold "Death Cross" Ahead of Fed's Meeting Minutes

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.35%, near 52-week high.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +3.2% from near 52 week lows.

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): -0.67%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.2%, has turned negative.

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +0.9%, near 52 week highs

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mixed, with some near new year highs and others near year lows. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is down 0.67%.

U.S. stocks are firmly in negative territory as concerns about a "death cross" for gold cast a gloom over market sentiment. Gold tumbled below $1,600 as the dollar strengthened ahead of the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting minutes. Also weighing on stocks was downbeat economic data released earlier: housing starts for the month of January hit an annualized rate of 890,000 units, far below the forecast of 914,000, according to Briefing.com. January producer prices also missed expectations, rising 0.2%. Core producer prices also rose 0.2%, slightly above estimates.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) is down 0.50%, but near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 1%, but reached a new year high of $155.91. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 1.1%, although it earlier posted a new year low of $11.37.

Among financial stocks, Eaton Vance (EV) is down 3.3% after it reported Q1 earnings of $0.50 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.52. Revenues were $318.5 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $314.65 mln.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs are lower but touched new year highs earlier: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), down 0.4%, but touched a new year high of $78.39; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), down 0.48%, also with a new year high of $80.55; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), down 0.29%, with a new 52-week high of $41.42.

Among stocks, Toll Brothers (TOL) is now down 6% after it reported Q1 earnings of $0.03 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.12, if comparable. Revenues were $424.6 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $493.38 mln. In the same period last year, the company reported a loss of $0.02 per share on revenues of $321.96 mln.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.8% from near year highs and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) us down 1%, from near its 52-week high.

In sector news, PVR Partners (PVR) is now down 10% after the company reported a Q4 GAAP loss of $0.30 per share, compared with the Capital IQ GAAP consensus of $0.14 EPS. In the prior-year period, the company posted $0.23 EPS. Revenues were $269.6 mln, down 6.3% from $287.78 mln in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting revenues of $280.19 mln.

Commodities -

Crude was down 2.11%; natural gas was down 0.12%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 2.6%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 0.5%.

Gold was down 1.53%, slipping below $1,600 and nearing the 52-week low of $1,539, ahead of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting last month. Gold is pressured the the continuing strength of the dollar, as well as talks of a "death cross". ETFs for gold are lower: SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), down 1.7%; iShares Gold Trust (IAU), down 1.7%; and PowerShares DB Gold Fund (DGL), down 1.7%.

Silver was down 2.73%. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 2.5%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are edging lower, but earlier hit new year highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.18%, with a new year high $43.73; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.23%, with a new year high of $78.52; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), off 0.14%, with a new year high of $91.38. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is up 0.01%.

In corporate news, Chelsea Therapeutics (CHTP) continues to see strength, now up near 130% after it received written guidance from the Director of the Office of New Drugs at the FDA stating that Study 306B has the potential to serve as the basis for a resubmission of a Northera (droxidopa) New Drug Application (NDA) for the treatment of symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH). Based on this guidance, Chelsea plans to file a resubmission of the Northera NDA with the DCRP in the late second quarter of 2013. If accepted by the Division, the company's application will be subject to a 6-month review period.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are mixed: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.32% with a new year high of $38.10; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.26%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.22%, with a new year high of $96.01.

In sector news, La-Z-Boy (LZB) continues to climb, now up 15.72% having earlier hit a fresh new year high of $18.35. The company reported in yesterday's after hours session Q3 net income of $17.1 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, which included $0.04 relating to gains on the sale of investments and a related tax benefit. Net income exceeds analysts expectations of $0.23 per share and reflects an increase over Q3 2011, when La-Z-Boy reported net income of $15.0 million, or $0.28 per diluted share. Net sales for the fiscal 2013 third quarter were $349.1 million, up 10.3% compared with the prior year's third quarter and above analyst's estimates of $337 million.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs have turned mostly lower, after nearing or reaching year highs: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.60%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.97%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.63, with a new year high of $71.98; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.53% also with a new year high of $68.05.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 0.71% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 0.51%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.91%, nearing its year high.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: EEM , EWJ , QQQ , SPY , VXX

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