Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Give Up Gains as Investors Fret Over Uncertain Election Results in Italy

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.5% from near year highs.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +3%

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.1%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.1% from near year highs.

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): -0.7%

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, are mixed. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is up 0.02%.

U.S. stocks are slipping after logging gains off the start of the session, as earlier optimism regarding Italy's elections soured. Concerns over a potentially hung parliament have emerged. Political analysts project that Silvio Berlusconi's center-right party would win the Senate, while center-left candidate Pier Luigi Bersani and his party would win Congress. Berlusconi's coalition has been widely seen as a threat to the austerity measures already set in place by the country. With no notable economic data on tap today, many stocks continue to move on earnings reports - among these are Lowe's (LOW), Hertz Global (HTZ) and Dendreon (DNDN).

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 1% from near year highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 2.7%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 2.2%.

Among financial stocks, CommonWealth REIT (CWH) is now down 11% after the company posted Q4 FFO of $0.82, falling short of analyst estimates for $0.86. Revenue for the quarter came in at $264.7 million, ahead of the $263.56 million consensus. Separately, the company said it has commenced a public offering of 27,000,000 common shares, and will use the proceeds of this offering to purchase up to $450 million of unsecured senior notes due between 2014 and 2016 in a tender offer CWH has also announced today.

Technology -

Tech ETFs are mixed: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), off 0.1%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 0.12%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), up 0.25%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 0.2%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) is down 0.6% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) is down 0.4%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) is flat.

In sector news, Zynga (ZNGA) is up 10% after Nevada's governor Friday signed legislation legalizing online gambling within the state. The company had appealed to Nevada regulators last year in an attempt to transition its business into online real-money gambling. The company had appealed to Nevada regulators last year in an attempt to transition its business into online real-money gambling. Zynga also said today that it's closing down some of its offices to allow it to focus resources on strategic opportunities, Flyonthewall reported. According to the report, the company will close the McKinney, Texas and downtown Austin offices, relocating those teams to Dallas and North Austin and will move its NYC staff to its mobile studio in the city.

Energy -

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) is down 0.9%; Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) is down 0.9% too.

In sector news, Global Geophysical Services (GGS) is now down 31.7% and hit a new year low of $2.96 after the company reported a Q4 loss of $0.76 per share, including one-time items, compared with the prior-year period's $0.04 earnings per share. Revenues were $55.3 mln, down 51% from $113.1 mln in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $0.12, which may not be comparable as analysts' estimates typically exclude special items. Revenues were expected to be $95.94 mln.

Commodities -

Crude was down 0.02%; natural gas was up 3.35%. United States Oil Fund (USO) is down 0.3%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) is up 3.9%.

Gold was up 1.13% and silver was up 2.10%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 0.4%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.8%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are mostly lower but are near their year highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.23%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.3%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), now up 0.3%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) now up 0.06%.

In corporate news, Affymax (AFFY) is now down 84%, with a new year low of $2.34, after it announced with Takeda Pharmaceutical that the two companies have decided to voluntarily recall all lots of OMONTYS (peginesatide) Injection to the user level as a result of new postmarketing reports regarding serious hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening or fatal.

Power Play -

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are higher: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), is down 0.5% but earlier touched a new year high of $38.44; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), is now down 0.3% having earlier gone near its 52-week high; Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), down 0.5% now, but earlier touched a new year high of $96.69.

In sector news, Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) is up 6% to around $19.80, having earlier touched a new year high of $20.37, after it reported Q4 earnings of $0.33 per share, ex one-time items, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $0.31. Revenues were $2.3 bln, versus the analyst estimate of $2.27 bln. Including costs and charges related to the company's acquisition of Dollar Thrifty, the company posted a GAAP loss of $0.09 per share. The company expects FY13 EPS of $1.82 - $1.92 on revenues of $10.85 bln - $10.95 bln. The Street view is EPS of $1.73 on revenues of $10.81 bln.



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 , IWM , SPY , VXX , XLF

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