Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 (
): +0.7%, near year highs
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM (
): flat, close to its year low
iShares Russell 2000 Index (
Financial Select Sector SPDR (
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 (
): +1.1%, nearer year highs
Broad Market Indicators
Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and
others, are firmer. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (
) is up 1.1% and closer to a year high $68.55.
U.S. stocks continue to firm up. Some of the gains in markets
can be attributed to optimism among investors that stimulus
measures for the Chinese economy, and with it in turn the global
economy, will be introduced soon. Mixed economic data had little
impact. The Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell
1.1% in July, after a strong gain in the previous month, while the
Labor Department reported U.S. jobless claims rose 2,000 to 366,000
last week. Natural gas storage increased by 20 bln cubic feet (bcf)
this week to 3,261 bcf, less than last week's increase and the 30
bcf increase analysts expected.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
) is up 0.7%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up
1.7%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 1.8%.
In financial news, Compucredit Holdings (CCRT) is up 33.5% and
reached a new 52-week high of $7.35 after the company commenced a
tender offer to purchase 8.25 million CCRT shares at a price of $10
Spanish banks which trade on the U.S. stock market continue to
log gains, with Banco Santander (SAN) ADRs up 4.2% and BBVA (BBVA)
ADRs up 4.1%. These stocks gained following a Bloomberg report that
Spain was about to receive an emergency disbursement from the 100
billion-euro ($123 billion) bailout of its financial system because
of restrictions the European Central Bank imposed on bank
Tech ETFs are mostly firmer: iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF
(IYW), up 1.5%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF
(IGM), up 1.4%; iShares S&P North American Technology-Software
Index (IGV), up 1.7%; and Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK)
is up 1.3%, nearing its 52-week high of $30.61.
SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is up 1.5%; Semiconductor
Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is up 1.4%. SPDR S&P International
Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 1.9%.
In corporate news, Facebook (FB) is down 4.8% and has sunk to a
new 52-week low of $19.69. Today marks FB's first lockup
NetEase (NTES) is down 11.5%. The company reported Q2 revenues
of RMB$2.0 billion compared to RMB$1.8 billion for the same quarter
last year. Gross profit for Q2 was RMB $1.3 billion versus RMB $1.2
billion for the yoy quarter.
Agilent Technologies (A) is also lower, down 8.7%, after
reporting Q3 earnings of $0.79 per share, ex one-time items, versus
the Capital IQ consensus of $0.83. Revenues were $1.72 bln, versus
the analyst estimate of $1.79 bln. The company expects Q4 EPS of
$0.80 - $0.82, excluding non-recurring items, below the consensus
of $0.93. Revenues are expected to be $1.76 bln - $1.78 bln also
below the consensus of $1.88 bln.
Among tech gainers, Cisco Systems (CSCO) is among top gainers,
now up 8.7% after it reported Q4 revenue of $11.7 billion and
diluted EPS of $0.47. Both numbers trumped the Street expectation
of $11.6 billion in revenue and EPS of $0.45. The company did not
immediately provide forward guidance.
SINA (SINA) is up 13% after it reported late yesterday Q2
non-GAAP net revenues increased 11% year over year to $126.9 mln,
within the Company's guidance between $126.0 mln and $129.0 mln.
Non-GAAP net income attributable to SINA was $3.7 mln, or $0.05 per
share. The Street view called for a loss of $0.02 on revenue of
$129.7 mln. The company guided non-GAAP Q3 revenues in the range of
$145 - $148 mln, below the Capital IQ consensus of $151 mln.
Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) is up 5% following a report from the
NY Post that stated the company is quietly exploring a sale.
Reportedly, the company has been approached by KKR and Providence
Equity Partners about a transaction. The paper says the discussions
are still at a very early stage.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.8%; Energy Select
Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.8%.
Crude was up around 1%, as was natural gas. United States Oil
Fund (USO) is up more than 1%; likewise, United States Natural Gas
Fund (UNG) is flat, having been up 1%.
Gold was up around 0.77%; silver was up 1.22%. Among rare metal
funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.7% and iShares Silver Trust
(SLV) is up 1.5%.
In big company news, Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX) is up 3.6%
after it confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with China
National Gold Group Corporation regarding its holding in African
Barrick Gold plc, but says there can be no certainty that these
discussions will result in the acquisition of all or part of
Barrick's holding in ABG.
In other commodities news, investors George Soros and John
Paulson have chosen to increase their holdings in the largest
gold-backed exchange traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), according
to a report on Bloomberg late Wednesday. Paulson & Co. and
Soros Fund Management added 21.8 million shares and 884,000 shares,
respectively, of SPDR Gold Trust; Paulson & Co. now has 44% of
its $24 billion fund exposed to the gold ETF, the report detailed.
The move has had many investors raising doubts about gold being a
smart bet in 2012. Soros himself, during an appearance on Reuters
TV back in 2010, called the bullion "the ultimate bubble" --
admitting that gold was going higher by was "certainly not safe and
... not going to last forever."
Health care and biotech stocks are weaker: Health Care SPDR
(XLV), down 0.2%; iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB), down
0.90%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.2%; and iShares Dow
Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.1% from near year highs.
Power Play -
Consumer ETFs are mixed in mid-day action: Consumer Staples
Select Sector SPDR (XLP), flat near year highs; iShares Dow Jones
US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.7% near year highs; and Vanguard
Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.03%
SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) is up 0.6%; Market Vectors Retail ETF
(RTH) is up 0.2% at new year highs, while PowerShares Dynamic
Retail (PMR) is flat.