Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Jump Following Upbeat New Home Sales Data, Strong Earnings

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): +0.19%, near all-time highs

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): +0.49%

Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ): -1.88%

iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund ( IWM ): +0.87%, with a new record high

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ( VXX ): -0.25%

Broad Market Indicators

Most broad market exchange-traded funds were higher at session's half. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) was up 0.39% at a 13-year high of $90.84.

U.S. stocks were also in the green after new home sales in January rose 9.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 - its fastest pace in more than five years - versus forecasts for a rate of 405,000. Strong earnings reports from Target (TGT), Carter's (CRI) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) also helped lift market sentiment.

Power Play: Energy

Dow Jones U.S. Energy Fund (IYE) and Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) were edging lower, down 0.34% and 0.3%, respectively.

In corporate news, Forest Oil (FST) tumbled 37% to an all-time low after it reported late Tuesday financial results for Q4 that missed analysts' expectations, and provided guidance on net sales volume for fiscal 2014, Q1 and Q4 2014. The company said Q4 adjusted earnings of $0.02 per share, compared with the prior-year period's $0.06 per share. Revenue was $88.49 million, down 43% from $154.9 million in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $0.03 on revenues of $96.09 million. For fiscal 2014, the company expects average net sales volumes of 120 MMcfe/d, comprised of approximately 35% oil and natural gas liquids and 65% natural gas. The company said it expects Q1 2014 net sales volumes to average 105 - 110 MMcfe/d (67% natural gas and 33% liquids), incorporating the impact of a slower pace of development in the Eagle Ford and lower-than-expected Q4 well results. Looking ahead to Q4 2014, FST expects average net sales volumes to average 145 - 150 MMcfe/d (63% natural gas and 37% liquids).

Winners and Losers

Financial

Select Financial Sector SPDRs (XLF) was off 0.09%. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) was down 0.08%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, was up 0.09%.

Among financial stocks, Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) was down 0.14% after shares were downgraded at both Citigroup and Imperial Capital to In-Line from Outperform, each with a $96 price target.

Technology

Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV) were higher, near their multi-year highs. iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM) was up 0.69% and reached a record high. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) was flat.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was up 1.23% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was up 1.1% - both reached record highs.

In stocks news, Plug Power (PLUG) was up nearly 15% after confirming the company has received a multi-site GenKey purchase order from Walmart Stores (WMT) to roll out its hydrogen fuel cell solution to power electric lift truck fleets at six North America distribution centers. The first of six sites will be deployed by Q214. Further purchase order terms for the multi-site order initially announced on February 10 include: Total of 1,738 GenDrive fuel cell units, to be deployed over two years GenFuel infrastructure construction and hydrogen fuel supply Six-year GenCare service contract for each site.

Commodities

Crude was up 0.98%; United States Oil Fund (USO) was up 0.77%. Natural gas was down 2.7%; United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was down 2%.

Gold was down 1.25% and silver was down 3.46%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was down 1.08%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was down 2.9%.

Consumer

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) and iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK) were in positive territory.

In company news, Papa John's (PZZA) was up 6% and reached an all-time high after it reported late Tuesday Q4 earnings of $0.41, in line with the analyst consensus on Capital IQ. Revenue was $387.9 million, better than expectations of $372 million. For 2014, the company expects EPS in the range of $1.72 to $1.80, vs. expectations of $1.78 per share.

Healthcare

Health Care SPDR (XLV), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT) and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH) were higher, and near their 52-week highs. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) edged lower.

In corporate news, Cerus Corp (CERS) was down 15% following disappointing Q4 revenue and revenue guidance reported after Tuesday's close. The medical devices company said Q4 product revenue fell 12% to $9.2 million compared to the prior year's period. CERS FY2013 product revenue came in at $39.7 million, 8% annual growth year-over-year. Analysts' estimates are not available. The company guided 2014 revenue for $38 million - $40 million, down from 2013, and reflecting potential negative impact to first-half sales from planned changes to distributor relationships.



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.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: SPY , EEM , GDX , IWM , VXX

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