Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Extend Rally on Better-Than-Expected Jobless Claims, PPI Data

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.51%, with a new 52-week high of $156.65;

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): +0.55%, with a new 52-week high of $18.47;

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): -1.24%, with a new 52-week low of $20.58

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.67%

iShares Gold Trust ( IAU ): +0.10%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continued to rise. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.47%.

U.S. stocks were rallying at session's half, buoying the S&P 500 index to near its all-time high. Investors cheered the report that U.S. jobless claims fell 10,000 to 332,000 - much better than the expected rise to 350,000, according to economists surveyed by MarketWatch.

Continuing claims decreased by 89,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.02 million in the week ended March 2. Meantime, the Commerce Department reported that current account deficit was narrower than expected at $110.4 billion in Q4. Additionally, February producer prices rose 0.7%, better than the anticipated 0.6% increase, according to Briefing.com's consensus; core producer prices rose 0.2%, matching with expectations.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) was up 0.55%, with a new 52-week high of $18.47. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was up 1.58%, with a new 52-week of $168.05. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.6%, with a new 52-week low of $10.37.

Among financial stocks, Credit Suisse (CS) was up 3.02% after it said it settled a lawsuit with bond investors in National Century Financial Enterprises, which went bankrupt in 2002, according to Reuters. The report says that the settlement shaves 134 million Swiss francs ($141 million) off its fourth-quarter net profit, which the Swiss bank had already reported, cutting it to 263 million francs from 397 million.

Technology -

Tech ETFs gapped higher, pushing to new 52-week highs: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), up 0.60%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), up 0.46%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.45%, with a new 52-week high of $73.16; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), up 0.53%, with a new 52-week high of $70.70.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 0.88% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) rose 0.65%, near its 52-week high.

SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was up 1.06%.

In sector news, Sigma Designs (SIGM) surged 17.65%, adding to gains of some 10% in Wednesday's after hours, when the company reported a Q4 loss of $0.54 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.51 loss per share, if comparable. Revenues were $44.2 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $43.56 mln. The company sees Q1 revenues of $49 mln - $52 mln, versus the Street view of $52.28 mln.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) gained 1.2%, with a new 52-week high of $45.44. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE} was up 1.13%, with a new 52-week high of $79.89.

In sector news, Emerald Oil (EOX) rose 4.45% after the company reported late Wednesday Q4 earnings of $0.18 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.02 loss per share. Oil and natural gas revenues were $9.16 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $8.09 mln. Quarterly oil production was 110,144 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), or an average of 1,197 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD). This is up 23% from 89,383 BOE (972 BOEPD) in the previous quarter.

Commodities -

Crude was up 0.29%; natural gas was up 2.74%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.57%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was up 3.11%.

Gold was up 0.03% and silver was down 0.7%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.11%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 0.29%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs dipped lower: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.06% but with a new 52-week high of $45.10; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.06%, with a new 52-week high of $81.08; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.04%, with a new 52-week high of $94.38. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) declined 0.24%, but still hit a new 52-week high of $157.

In corporate news, Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (SVA) surged 31.66%, with a 52-week high of $5.09, after it reported today positive preliminary top-line data from its Phase III clinical trial assessing the efficacy, immunogenicity and safety of the company's proprietary Enterovirus 71 (EV71) vaccine against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

Power Play -

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs were higher: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), was up 0.34%, with a new 52-week high of $38.86; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), up 0.46%, with a new 52-week high of $83.68; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), up 0.32%, with a new 52-week high of $97.91.

Retail ETFs were firmer: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), up 0.57%, with a new 52-week high of $70.62; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), up 0.29%, with a new 52-week high of $27.38; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), flat, but touched a new 52-week high of $48.45.

In sector news, Men's Wearhouse (MW) soared 19.33% after it said late Wednesday it hired Jefferies & Co. to evaluate strategic alternatives for K&G. The company also announced a Q4 loss of $0.07 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.06 loss per share. Revenues were $608.4 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $607 mln. Comparable store sales increased 1%, at the low end of the company's guidance range for the quarter.



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 , IAU , SPY , VXX , XLF

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