Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs Mostly Weaker, Stocks Bounce Back; Dow, S&P 500 Lift to New Record Highs on Upbeat Q4 GDP

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.12%, near its 52-week high

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): -0.60%, but near its 52-week high

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.4%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -0.1%, near its 52-week low

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.1%, but near year highs

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, were mixed, but mostly trading at the higher end of their 52-week ranges. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up 0.01%.

U.S. stocks have bounced back ater an early stutter with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing to a new all-time high while the S&P 500 traded just above its previous record closing high of 1565.15, established on October 9, 2007. Market sentiment brightened after positive Q4 GDP data offset disappointing jobless claims and Chicago PMI data. In Q4, the U.S. economy grew 0.4%, up from the prior estimate of a 0.1% increase. Jobless claims, on the other hand, rose 16,000 to 357,000 last week, the highest level since mid-February, according to a report on MarketWatch. This was a wider increase than the expectations of a rise to 339,000. The Chicago PMI showed a reading of 52.4 for the month of March, also missing forecasts.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 0.11%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 0.31% but still near year highs. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 0.1%, near its 52-week low.

Among financial stocks, Glacier Bancorp, Inc. (GBCI) was up 0.8%, nearing its 52-week high, after it signed a definitive agreement to acquire North Cascades National Bank, a community bank based in Chelan, Washington. The boards of Glacier and North Cascades Bancshares, Inc. (North Cascades' holding company) unanimously approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions of closing. The transaction provides for the payment to North Cascades Bancshares, Inc. shareholders of $13.55 million in cash and 874,194 shares of Glacier common stock, so long as the average price of Glacier stock before closing the transaction is between $13 and $18.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs turned positive: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), up 0.2% and near year highs; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), up 0.23%; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), up 0.3%.

Among stocks, EDAC Technologies (EDAC) was up 4.5%, reaching a new 52-week high of $18.63, after it earlier said it has received a proposal from MidOcean Partners, a private equity firm, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of EDAC for $18.25 per share in cash. The proposed transaction represents a $0.50 per share premium to the price offered by GB Aero Engine LLC, an affiliate of the Greenbriar Equity Group, in a transaction announced on March 18, 2013. It also represents a 23.2% premium to the average closing per share price of EDAC over the 30 trading days ending March 15, 2013 which precede the announcement of the deal with Greenbriar.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.03%; natural gas was down 0.88%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.26% and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is down 1.6%.

Gold was down 0.65% and silver was down 1.09%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.7%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 1.2%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are higher: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.6%, with a new 52-week high of $45.90; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.6%, with a new 52-week high of $82.71; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.66%, with a new 52-week high of $96.29. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.3%, also touching a new 52-week high of $160.19.

In corporate news, Biogen Idec (BIIB) was up 4%, touching a new 52-week high of $190.82, after it confirmed that its TECFIDERA (dimethyl fumarate) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a new first-line oral treatment for people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The company said it will make the oral capsule available to people living with MS in the United States in the coming days.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs were firmer: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.20%,

with a new 52-week high of $39.74; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.15% and nearer year highs; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.26%, with a new 52-week high of $100.56.

Retail ETFs: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), now up and near year highs; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.46%, with a 52-week high of $27.96; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.12% but with a new 52-week high of $48.90.

In sector news, Finish Line Inc. (FINL) was up 6.5%, adding to earlier gains of about 3%, after the mall-based specialty retailer reported fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.76, better than consensus estimate of $0.75. Net sales totaled $442.7 million versus consensus estimate of $452.3 million. In the same period last year, non-GAAP earnings per share were $0.81, with revenues of $456.3 million. For the fiscal year ending March 1, 2014, the company currently expects Finish Line comparable store sales to be up slightly and earnings per share to increase mid-single digit percent over fiscal year 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $1.47.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), now flat; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.01%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.1%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.5%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 0.02% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 0.1%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.48%.

In sector news, Blackberry (BBRY) was higher after the company reported Q4 revenue of $2.7 bln, down 36% from year ago levels and below the analyst consensus of $2.8 bln on Capital IQ. Adjusted EPS was $0.22, well ahead of expectations of a loss of $0.31 per share. The company also said Mike Lazaridis, having fulfilled the commitment he made to the board in January 2012, has decided to retire as Vice Chair and a director of the company. Lazaridis co-founded BlackBerry nearly 30 years ago and served as a co-CEO of the company until last year when he was elected Vice Chair.



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 , SPY , VXX , XLF

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