Active broad-market exchange-traded funds at Friday's regular
SPDR S&P 500 (
): +0.34%, near all-time highs
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures (
PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 (
): +0.29%, hit a 13-year high
Broad Market Indicators
Most broad market exchange-traded funds extended their gains.
Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (
) was up 0.29%, reaching $90.46 - its highest since September
U.S. stocks continued to trade in positive territory, finding
some support from positive earnings from companies such as
Commscope (COMM) and Strayer Education (STRA). Market sentiment
also brightened following news the Ukraine government and
opposition forces have signed a peace pact, paving the way for the
resolution to the months-long political crisis that escalated to
violence this week. Investors shrugged off weak housing data that
showed sales of existing homes fell 5.1% in January to a seasonally
adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million.
Power Play: Technology
Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) and iShares Dow Jones US
Technology ETF (IYW) their highest level in more than 12 years
while iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) and
iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV)
climbed to record highs. SPDR S&P International Technology
Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.
Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) and
Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) were lower, and reached or
were near their record highs.
In stocks news, Commscope Holding Company Inc. (COMM) rose 19%
and reached an all-time high of $24.38 Friday after reporting Q4
earnings per share of $0.30, beating the analyst consensus estimate
of $0.29. The company also reported revenue of $847 million for Q4,
while analysts had forecast revenue of $820.50 million. Meanwhile,
analysts at Jefferies upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold and
raised the price target to $25 from $17.5 per share.
Winners and Losers
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was up 0.49%. Direxion Daily
Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) climbed higher 1.47%. Its bearish
counterpart, FAZ, was down 1.36%.
Among financial stocks, Donegal Group (DGICA) was up more than
4% after it reported Q4 net income of $9.6 million or $0.36 per
Class A share, compared with $6.22 million or $0.25 per share in
the same quarter of 2012. Operating income, a non-GAAP measure, was
$9.9 million or $0.37 per Class A share, compared with $5.09
million or $0.20 per share. The Capital IQ consensus estimate was
for $0.27 EPS. The company said its statutory expense ratio was
32.2% for the quarter, compared with 28.5% for the same quarter in
2012. The increase in expense ratio reflected higher
underwriting-based incentive costs that resulted from significantly
improved underwriting results for the quarter.
Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) was down 0.18%, and Energy
Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was down 0.29%.
In corporate news, Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) was down nearly 7%
in Friday trading despite late Thursday posting Q4 per-share
earnings and revenue that topped analyst forecasts. The company
earned $0.18 per share during its December quarter, excluding
non-recurring items, up from a $0.10 per share gain in the year-ago
period and edging the Wall Street consensus by $0.01. Revenues rose
31.8% year over year to $487.5 million, beating estimates by $15.12
Crude was down 0.97%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was down
0.98%. Natural gas was down 0.21% and United States Natural Gas
Fund (UNG) was up 0.22%, nearing its record highs.
Gold was up 0.281% and silver was up 0.04%. Among rare metal
funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 0.18%; iShares Silver Trust
(SLV) was down 0.57%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer
Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK)
In stocks news, post-secondary education services provider
Strayer Education Inc. (STRA) was higher 27% after saying Q4 2013
adjusted diluted EPS was $1.32 versus the Capital IQ consensus of
$0.98. Revenue totaled $124.1 million, down 13% from last year's
$141.9 million. The average analyst estimate was $119 million,
according to Capital IQ.
Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and
iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) jumped to record highs.
Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was up 1.95%,
also hitting an all-time high.
In corporate news, Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) jumped to an
all-time high of $59.43 after saying a study of its ISIS-SMN Rx
drug in children with spinal muscular atrophy showed an average
increase of 3.7 points observed in muscle function score. The
children were treated with 9 pm of the drug, which also showed
dose-dependent increases in SMN protein levels in children treated
with ISIS-SMNRx from both single- and multiple-dose studies. Isis
said the drug was well tolerated at all dose levels.
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