Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Modestly Firmer, Stocks Inch Up as Investors Look Ahead to ECB Meeting, Jobs Data


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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.18%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.22%, near year highs.

Direxion Daily Small Cap Bear 3X Shares ( TZA ): +0.13%, but still near year lows.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.67%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -2.8%, still near 52-week low

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are modestly higher. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.22% and nearer to year highs.

U.S. stocks are inching higher, unable to gain much traction despite the Labor Department's report that the productivity of U.S. rebounded more than initially estimated in the second quarter. Market sentiment continues to be clouded by worries of a global growth slowdown - led by China - and investors anxiously await news on stimulus measures from the European Central Bank on Thursday and news on the U.S. jobs front on Friday for direction.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) is up 0.03%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 0.25% while its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 0.1%.

Among financial stocks, Hartford (HIG) shares are up 2.6%, after the company announced in yesterday's after hours that it signed a definitive agreement to sell its Retirement Plans business to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) for a cash ceding commission of $400 million, subject to adjustment at closing. The sale, which is structured as a reinsurance transaction, is expected to close by the end of 2012, subject to regulatory approvals and satisfying other customary closing conditions.

Technology -

Nokia (NOK) is one of the top losers today, down 11% and falling as much as 13% even as the company unveiled its latest flagship smartphones that run on MIcrosoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system. The launch had been pegged as the make-it-or-break-it moment for Nokia to regain its status as a leader in the mobile phone market.

Tech ETFs are mixed: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.13% to near year highs; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.28%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.14%. iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) is up 0.3%.

Among Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 0.11% while Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 0.54%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.57%.

Power Play -

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are firmer: Health Care SPDR (XLV), now down 0.05% having earlier struck 52 months highs; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), now down 0.04% having earlier hit a new year high; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.15% having also landed new year highs. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is down 0.5% having gone close to doing the same.

In corporate news, Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX) shares are up 8%, after the company earlier said it will close enrollment of new patients into its study of cardiovascular risks associated with its weight-loss treatment Contrave in Q4, sooner than expected. By closing enrollment earlier, the time required to perform an interim analysis of the data could be cut in half.

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 , TZA , VXX

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