Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Continue Weakness on Disappointing China Manufacturing, Mixed Econ Data

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Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at Thursday's regular session:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.98%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -2.46%.

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ): -1.64%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): +2.82%

iShares MSCI Japan ( EWJ ): -0.04%, shy of its 52-week high

PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 (QQQ): -0.73%, reaching a new 13-year high.

Broad Market Indicators

Broad market exchange-traded funds were mixed, but most were still near their record or multi-year highs. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was down 0.73% but still near its 13-year high.

U.S. stocks extended their losses into the session's half as mixed economic data weighed on market sentiment. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported a 0.1% rise in home prices during November, down from 0.5% gain in the prior month. Earlier, U.S. economic data were much more upbeat, with existing-home sales up 1% in December to 4.87 million, while 2013 sales hit 5.09 million, the most since 2006. Jobless claims rose by 1,000 at 326,000 - a slight change from the prior week, while leading economic indicators increased 0.1%, as expected. The January Markit PMI fell to 53.7 versus forecasts of 55.0. Investors are digesting news out of China, as the world's second largest economy reported disappointing manufacturing data - possibly indicating a slow down in global growth.

Power Play: Healthcare

Health Care SPDR (XLV) and Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) and Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) were all lower, but still near record highs.

In corporate news, Hill-Rom Holdings (HRC) was down some 14% after the company reported lower-than-expected financial results for Q1 ended Dec. 31, 2013, and lowered its outlook for FY14. It also provided details on its planned restructuring program. HRC will reduce European manufacturing capacity, and plans to close one facility and downsize capacity throughout its remaining European manufacturing network. It will streamline operations in the U.S. and Europe, including establishing a shared services center in Europe. These actions will result in the elimination of approximately 350 net positions in the U.S. and Europe, representing 5% of its global work force.

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) and Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) were both down. FAZ, was up 4.02% and was near an all-time low.

Among financial stocks, Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) were up 3.12% and reached a new 52-week high of $174.82 after the railroad and transportation company posted a 13% rise in Q4 profit that topped analysts' expectations as revenue climbed, boosted by the first increase in overall volume in six quarters.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was down 0.59%. iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were also weaker. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was down 1.32%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 1.21%, near 52-week highs. Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.12%.

In stocks news, Silicom (SILC) were up nearly 30%, reaching a record high of $62.67 after the company posted Q4 EPS of $0.94 on revenue of $25.4 million, comfortably beating the Street view of EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $18.42 million.

Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.93%; likewise, Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was lower, down 0.96% at last check.

In corporate news, CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) was down 0.30% after the company said it increased the quarterly dividend on its common stock by 5.9% to $0.27 per share, beginning with the energy company's dividend payable Feb. 28 to shareholders of record Feb. 7. Previously, the quarterly dividend was $0.255 per share. With the new payment, the dividend gives the stock an annualized yield of about 4%.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.99%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.84%. Natural gas was up 1.47%, after hitting a new 52-week high and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 2.04%. Gold was up 1.77% and silver was up 1.16%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 2.11%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1.63%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was down 0.81%; other consumer ETFs Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were also lower.

In stocks news, Arctic Cat (ACAT) was down almost 19% after posting Q3 EPS of $0.89, down from $1.30 last year and missing the Capital IQ consensus estimate of $1.33. Sales came in at $225.8 million, up from net sales of $218.0 million in the same quarter last year but below the $239.38 million consensus mean. For fiscal 2014, the company is lowering its sales and earnings guidance. The company now estimates full-year earnings to be in the range of $2.90 to $3.00 per diluted share on anticipated sales in the range of $740 million to $750 million. Previously, the company estimated full-year earnings in the range of $3.27 to $3.37 per diluted share on sales in the range of $754 million to $768 million. The Street is expecting $3.25 EPS on $749.87 million in revenue.



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 , GDX , SPY , XLF

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