Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Continue Sharp Losses as Jobs, GDP Data Miss Forecasts


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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.92%

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +0.55%, with a new 52-week high of $10.98

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.80%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +3.89%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -1.11%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, remained in negative territory. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 1.35%.

U.S. stocks continued to be weighed by the disappointing economic data reported earlier, seeing sharp declines at session's half. The U.S. economy generated only 88,000 jobs for March, the lowest number in the last 10 months. This was below the 192,000 economists expected, according to Briefing.com.

Nonfarm private payrolls added 95,000 - missing the consensus of 210,000. On the other hand, the unemployment rate slipped lower to 7.6% from the prior level of 7.7%. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit shrank 3.4% in February to $43 billion from $44.5 billion in January, due to lower oil imports. Investors are still looking ahead to the February consumer credit report, which will be released at 3:00 pm ET.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was down 1.11%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 3.19%, but earlier hit a new 52-week high of $52.57. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 3.17%, with a 52-week low of $43.73.

Among financial stocks, the Bank of New York Mellon (BK) slipped 1.42% after it said it was appointed by Osterreichische Post AG (Austrian Post) as the depositary bank for its American depositary receipt (ADR) program. Each Austrian Post ADR represents half of an ordinary share and trades over-the-counter under the symbol OSTIY.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.36% while Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.29%.

In sector news, Hess Corp (HES) was down 0.35%, trimming earlier losses of some 1%, following news of a proxy fight for control of the oil and gas company heated up late Thursday, when Elliott Management filed new documents asserting " the record clearly demonstrates the history of a CEO focused more on maintaining a family dynasty than instilling accountability and addressing chronic underperformance."

Among the factors Elliott cites for bringing in a new chief executive and implementing other changes at the company are its contention HES shares have underperformed by 460% during the CEO's tenure, including a 50% shortfall over the past two years. It also stated the company has been in a "state of perpetual, ineffective restructuring" for 17 years.

Commodities -

May crude was down 0.69%; May natural gas was up 0.20%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 1.47%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 0.19%.

June gold is up 0.81% and silver for May delivery was up 0.29%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.94%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 0.85%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs were in the red: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.73%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.75%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.74%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was also pointing lower, down 0.58%.

In corporate news, Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) was off 1.81% after it announced the initiation of dosing in a Phase 1 clinical trial of APD334. The product is an oral drug candidate that targets the sphingosine 1-phosphate subtype 1 (S1P1) receptor for the potential treatment of autoimmune diseases. Arena said the randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled Phase 1 trial would evaluate safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single-ascending doses of APD334 in up to 64 healthy adult volunteers.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs were lower: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), down 0.83%; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 1%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.84%.

In sector news, HanesBrands (HBI) was up 3.12% after it announced late Thursday that its board of directors initiated a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share. The dividend will be paid June 3, 2013, for stockholders of record at the close of business on May 20, 2013. The quarterly dividend is the first for Hanes since its spinoff as an independent public company in 2006.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs continued to weaken in mid-day action: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 1.17%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 1.35%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 1.46%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 1.42%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 1.07% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.40%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 0.92%, with a new 52-week low of $26.86.

In sector news, Exide Technologies (XIDE) trimmed gains, and was up 12.41% after it disclosed late Thursday night the financial advisory firm of Lazard has been retained to advise the company on financing alternatives to maximize the value of the company for all stakeholders.

The company does not anticipate making any further announcements regarding its review until the process is complete. In addition, the company expects that fiscal 2013 fourth quarter free cash flow will be approximately $50 million, exceeding prior guidance of $30 million, with total liquidity (cash and availability under credit lines) at March 31, 2013 of greater than $230 million. These amounts are all subject to final audit and, therefore, could be subject to change.

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 , EWJ , SPY , VXX , XLF

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