Mid-Day ETF Update: ETFs, Stocks Lower on Mixed Economic Data, Cyprus Bailout Concerns

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

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ): -0.4%, but still near year highs.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ( VXX ): +1%, but still near year lows.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ( EEM ): -0.7%

Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF ): -0.44%, from near year highs

iShares Russell 2000 Index ( IWM ): -0.6%, from near year highs.

Broad Market Indicators

Broad-market exchange-traded funds, including SPY, IWM, IVV and others, continue to be weaker. Actively traded PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) is down 0.7%.

U.S. stocks were lower at mid-day, tracking weakness in European stocks following news that the ECB will suspend aid to Cyprus if the country cannot compromise on a bailout deal by Monday. Economic data was heavy, and investors digested a mixed bag of reports. The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators grew 0.5% in February, matching Briefing.com estimates. The Philly Fed Index showed an upbeat reading, turning positive in March after two months of being in the negative. In housing data, existing home sales increased 0.8% in February to 4.98 mln, about the same as economists had expected, while the FHFA Housing Price Index grew 0.6% in January.

Earlier, the Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims remained near a five-year low despite ticking up by 2,000 to 336,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected claims to increase to a seasonally adjusted 340,000. Continuing claims increased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.05 million.

Winners and Losers

Financial -

Select Financial Sector SPDRs ( XLF ) is down 0.38% from near year highs. Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X shares (FAS) is down 1.1%. Its bearish counterpart, FAZ, is up 1%, but still near year lows.

Among financial stocks, PennantPark Floating Rate Capital Ltd. (PFLT) was down 3.4% after it said it plans to make a public offering of 3 million shares of its common stock. The company also has granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 450,000 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any.

Industrial -

Industrial ETFs were lower, but still near year highs in mid-day action: Vanguard Industrials (VIS), down 0.48%; iShares Trust Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund (IYJ), down 0.49%; and Select Sector SPDR-Industrial (XLI), down 0.48%.

Among stocks, United States Steel Corporation (X) has recovered early losses and is now ticking up 2.6% after it priced its public offering of $275 million aggregate principal amount of 2.75% senior convertible notes due 2019. The convertible notes will pay interest semi-annually in arrears on April 1 and October 1 of each year beginning October 1, 2013 at a rate of 2.75% per year, and will mature on April 1, 2019, unless earlier redeemed, repurchased or converted.

Commodities -

Crude was up 1.17%; natural gas was down 0.08%. United States Oil Fund (USO) was down 0.8%. United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was also down 0.8%.

Gold was up 0.34% and silver was up 1.26%. Among rare metal funds, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was up 0.55%; iShares Silver Trust (SLV) was up 1.58%.

Healthcare -

Healthcare ETFs are weaker but still near 52 week highs: Health Care SPDR (XLV), down 0.3%; Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), down 0.27%; and iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH), down 0.21%. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB) was also lower, down 0.46%.

In corporate news, Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ANAC) has climbed 20% after announcing positive results from a Phase 2 dose-ranging trial of its topical boron-based phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitor, AN2728. The company said lesions treated with AN2728 ointment, 2.0% twice daily for 28 days achieved a 71% improvement from baseline in their Atopic Dermatitis Severity Index score, with 66% of lesions in this treatment group achieving total or partial clearance.

Consumer -

Consumer ETFs are mostly higher: Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), up 0.1%, with a new 52-week high of $39.13; iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Goods (IYK), down 0.24%, but with a new 52-week high of $84.21; and Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC), flat but near its 52-week high.

Retail ETFs were weaker, but still near their 52-week highs: SPDR S&P Retail (XRT), down 0.6%; PowerShares Dynamic Retail (PMR), down 0.11%; and Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH), down 0.06%.

In sector news, Perry Ellis International (PERY) shares were up near 7% after reporting Q4 earnings of $0.50 per share, beating the Capital IQ consensus of $0.48. Revenues were $258.35 mln, versus the analyst estimate of $258.25 mln. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.38 on revenues of $229 mln. The company reiterates its FY14 guidance, still expecting EPS of $1.50 - $1.60 on revenue growth of 3% - 5%. The Street view is EPS of $1.60.

Power Play -

Technology -

The technology sector was in negative territory at session's half, underperforming the broader market. Tech ETFs were in the red: Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), down 0.86%; iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW), down 1%; iShares S&P North American Technology ETF (IGM), down 1%; and iShares S&P North American Technology-Software Index (IGV), down 1%.

Among semiconductor ETFs, SPDR S&P Semiconductor (XSD) was down 1.36% and Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (SOXX) was down 1.2%. SPDR S&P International Technology Sector ETF (IPK) slipped 0.65% lower.

Weighing on the sector was Oracle (ORCL), which continued to slip lower. The enterprise software and computer hardware products and services provider was down near 9% at last check after reporting late Wednesday Q3 earnings of $0.65 per share, below the Capital IQ consensus of $0.66. Revenues were $9 bln, also missing the analyst estimate of $9.37 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.

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


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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

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