Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Mostly Firmer, Stocks Mixed to Lower as 'Fiscal Cliff' Concerns Provide Overhang

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.38%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.68%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.32%

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 ( QQQ ): +0.52%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ETN ( VXX ): -5.1%, near year lows.

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mostly firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ ( QQQ ) is up 0.52%.

U.S. stocks have lost earlier gains and are trading mixed to lower as earlier optimism, brought on by upbeat economic data out of China, is overtaken by persistent concerns over the so-called 'fiscal cliff'. Investors are keeping a watchful eye on U.S. federal budget debates and appear to expect bad news, despite reassurances from lawmakers and analysts that a compromise will likely be achieved. Also weighing on stocks are renewed jitters over Greece's debt, even as the country passed its 2013 budget needed to secure bailout funds, in time for the EU finance ministers' meeting today. Volumes continue to be light due to the Veteran's Day holiday.

Winners and Losers

Technology -

Tech ETFs are mostly lower: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), now up 0.34%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), has recouped earlier losses and now little changed; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 0.4%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.05%.

Amon semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 0.56% and around $1 from 52 week lows and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is now up 0.4%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is down 0.37%.

In sector news, Exide (XIDE) is now down 12% after it reported in Friday's after hours session that Q2 sales were $712 mln, below the analyst consensus of $765.8 mln on Capital IQ and down from $773 mln in the year ago quarter. Net loss was $0.18, vs. a year ago loss of $0.05 per share. The Street was at a gain of $).02 per share, but this may not be comparable.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs are mildly higher: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), up 0.5%; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), up 0.7%; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), up 0.7%.

Among homebuilder stocks, Beazer Homes USA (BZH) is down 14.2% after the company reported in the pre-market session a net loss of $66.2 million, or $2.82 per share, for Q4. This compares to last year's $43.2 million, or $2.91 per share. The Street view was a loss of $1.05 per share. Revenues for the quarter were $370.9 million, which is above the $335.11 million consensus estimate. In the same period last year, revenues were $334.91 million.

Among homebuilder ETFs, Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) is down 1%; and PowerShares Dynamic Build & Construction (PKB) is down 0.8%.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) has turned positive and is now up 0.4%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) too has turned positive and is up 0.45%.

In sector news, Houston American Energy (HUSA) is down 14% and nearer 52 week lows after it reported late Friday a Q3 loss of $0.16 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of a $0.05 loss per share. Revenues were $30,000, in line with the analyst estimates.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.71%; on the other hand, natural gas was up 0.52%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.25%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 2%.

Gold and silver were weaker, down 0.10% and 1.04% respectively. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.1%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.13%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.7%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.63% and 0.5% respectively. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is up 2%.

In corporate news, Clovis Oncology (CLVS) is down 34.39%, trimming earlier losses of more than 40%, after it reported that its CO-101, a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer, failed to demonstrate significant difference in overall survival in its patient population, compared with gemcitabine.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are lower: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), has turned positive and is now up 0.2%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), now up 0.22%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.12%.

Retail ETFs are also weaker: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), now up 0.23%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.2%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), now up 0.4% and has hit a new year high of $43.71.

In sector news, Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW) is up 7% after it announced that it will purchase privately-held Mexico-city based Consorcio Comex for $2.34 billion, including debt. SHW pursued the all-cash deal to expand its distribution.

Power Play -

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.4%; Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 0.9%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1%.

Among financial actives, Jefferies Group (JEF) is up 12%, paring down earlier gains of as much as 22%, after the securities and investment banking firm and Leucadia National (LUK) said their Boards have approved a definitive merger agreement under which Jefferies' shareholders (other than Leucadia, which currently owns approximately 28.6% of the Jefferies outstanding shares) will receive 0.81 of a share of Leucadia common stock for each share of Jefferies common stock they hold.



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 , QQQ , SPY , VXX , XLF

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As of 7/24/2014, 01:26 PM