Active broad market exchange-traded funds at mid-day:
SPDR S&P 500 (
): -0.4%, but still near year highs.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM (
): +1%, but still near year lows.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (
Financial Select Sector SPDR (
): -0.44%, from near year highs
iShares Russell 2000 Index (
): -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
Select Financial Sector SPDRs (
) 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,
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
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 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 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
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
Power Play -
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.