Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Extend Gains Following Fed Comments; Earnings Still In Focus

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.78%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.44%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.94%

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -3.35%

iShares MSCI Japan Index ( EWJ ): +1.25%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are extending their gains. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up 0.75%.

U.S. stocks continue to be firmer in the session's half, boosted by comments from the Federal Reserve. Fed governor Jerome Powell and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren tried to ease concerns, saying that the central bank's monetary policy would not be pressured by the lack of progress on fiscal policy.

Also helping lift market sentiment was upbeat economic news out of Germany. Munich-based Ifo Institute reported that its business-climate index showed a better-than-expected jump in February. With no other economic data released today, earnings remain in focus, with HP (HPQ) one of the top gainers after an unexpected beat on Q4 results.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is up 0.94%, near its 52-week high. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is up 2.27%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is down 2.23%, near its 52-week low.

Among financial stocks, ING (ING) is up 2.21% after it announced Friday that Jan Hommen will step down from his position as CEO of ING Group on 1 October 2013. He will be succeeded as CEO by Ralph Hamers, who is currently CEO of ING Belgium.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is up 0.45% and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is up 0.60%.

In sector news, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG) is up now up 9.38% after it reported year-end 2012 proved reserves of 3.8 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe), an increase of 27% over year-end 2011. Cabot's reserve growth was primarily driven by its drilling programs in the Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford Shale and Marmaton oil play, which resulted in 926.8 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of additions for the year.

Commodities -

Crude is up 0.09%; natural gas is up 0.48%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 0.09%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 0.61%.

Gold was down 0.39%, while silver was down 0.87%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.29%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.79%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs re firmer: Health Care SPDR (XLV), up 0.30%, near its 52-week high; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), up 0.37%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), up 0.41%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) is also up 1.06%.

In corporate news, WebMD (WBMD) continues to surge, now up 25.03% after reporting Q4 revenue of $132.7 million compared to $150.7 million in the prior year period. Net loss was $6.1 million or $0.12 per diluted share, compared to net income of $19.2 million or $0.33 per diluted share in the prior year period.

The Capital IQ analyst consensus estimated anticipated an $0.06 per share loss, on sales of $124.47. The company guided FY 2013 revenue in the range of $430 - $435 mln, above the current $418 mln Street view, and put a net per share loss for the year in the range of $0.13 - $0.45, vs. the current expectation for an $0.29 loss.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are higher at mid-day: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.39%, with a new 52-week high of $38.18; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.42%; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.28%, with a new 52-week high of $96.08.

In sector news, Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) is up 7.41%, trimming earlier gains of 17% after it reported late Thursday Q4 sales of $33.7 million, compared to $25.4 million in the prior year period. Fully diluted earnings per share was $0.03 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to earnings per share of $0.00 in same period a year ago. The Capital IQ analyst consensus anticipated sales of $30.59 mln and EPS of $0.02.

Power Play -

Technology -

Tech ETFs are higher: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.68%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.79%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.57%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.59%.

Semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD), up 1.67%, and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX), up 1.61%.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is up 0.48%, near its 52-week highs.

In sector news, HP (HPQ) is now up 9.18%, adding to earlier gains of about 5%, after it reported Q1 EPS of $0.82, vs. the analyst consensus of $0.71 per share on Capital IQ. Revs were $28.4 bln, vs. expectations of $27.8 bln. For Q2, the company expects EPS in the range of $0.80 to $0.82 per share, vs. expectations of $0.77 per share.



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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